Jack Eichel had a hat trick and the Vegas Golden Knights scored four times in the span of 6:22 in the second period to pull away for a 7-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas.
It was the fourth hat trick of Eichel's career. Phil Kessel and Pavel Dorofeyev each had a goal and an assist, Alex Pietrangelo tied a team record for defensemen with four assists and Zach Whitecloud and Paul Cotter also scored goals for Vegas (43-21-6, 92 points) which broke a tie for first place in the Pacific Division with the idle Los Angeles Kings (40-20-10, 90 points) with its fifth win in its last six games.
Jiri Patera, making his second NHL start, finished with 35 saves. The Golden Knights, who play their final 12 regular-season games against Western Conference teams, finished 22-8-2 against the East.
Kirill Marchenko and Liam Foudy scored goals and Patrik Laine had two assists for Columbus (21-41-7, 49 points) which suffered its seventh loss in eight games. Daniil Tarasov made 24 saves on 29 shots before being pulled with 3:03 left in the second period. Michael Hutchinson finished up and made 10 saves.
Vegas took a 1-0 lead at the 5:15 mark of the first period on a power-play goal by Kessel, who tipped in a crossing pass from Dorofeyev past Tarasov's left pad to end a 15-game goal drought.
Columbus tied it 37 seconds into the second period when Marchenko, left alone in front of the net, put in a rebound of an Erik Gudbranson shot for his 18th goal of the season.
Vegas then blew the game open with four unanswered goals. Eichel got the first with a wrist shot from the left circle past Tarasov's blocker and off the near post and in.
Dorofeyev made it 3-1 just 94 seconds later with a power-play goal off a Kessel setup. Whitecloud followed with his fourth goal of the season when he tapped in a mid-air rebound of a Brett Howden shot into the left corner of the net. Eichel followed with second goal of the game 33 seconds later with a sharp angle shot from near the left goal line that squirted through Tarasov's pads.
After Cotter made it 6-1 with a rebound goal early in the third period, Eichel finished his hat trick when he chipped the puck past Blue Jackets defenseman Adam Boqvist at the blue line and then skated in and fired a wrist shot through Hutchinson's pads for his 26th goal.
Foudy put in a rebound of a Tim Berni shot to finish the scoring.
Columbus head coach Brad Larsen missed the game due to a death in his family. Associate coach Pascal Vincent ran the bench for the Blue Jackets.
--Field Level Media