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Ducks win season-finale against playoff-bound Golden Knights, 4-1

Frank Vatrano scored three goals and the Anaheim Ducks finished their season on a high note, defeating the playoff-bound Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 Thursday night.

Vegas' three-game winning streak ended and the loss knocked the Golden Knights out of third place in the Pacific Division and into the second Western Conference wild card when Los Angeles earned a point by getting to overtime against Chicago. The defending Stanley Cup champions will face top seed Dallas in the first round beginning Monday night, while the Kings play Edmonton.

"Every team that's left standing is a good hockey team," said Jack Eichel, who scored the lone Knights goal. "There's no easy path to winning. We understand every game's going to be a battle. I think we should be pretty excited. It's a great opportunity for our team."

Vatrano's goals gave him 37 for the season, a career high. It was his third hat trick this season and the sixth of his career.

Jackson LaCombe had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who finished 27-50-5 for 59 points. Ryan Strome had two assists and Lukas Dostal made 29 saves.

Cutter Gauthier had an assist in his first career game. Just five days earlier, he was playing in the NCAA championship game at the Frozen Four for Boston College.

"It feels incredible," Gauthier said of his primary assist on LaCombe's goal. "I heard Comber calling for it there and I passed it to him. I saw it trickle in there and just very excited, pure joy. It's something you dream of as a kid."

Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg, who played his final NHL game after 12 seasons in the league, was congratulated by his teammates and then shook hands with Golden Knights players after the game. Eleven of his seasons came in Anaheim, where he ranks in the top 10 of several categories.

"I enjoyed my time here a lot, not just me but my family," Silfverberg said. "It's been 11 amazing years. It's definitely a team I'll be rooting for and I'll follow them closely."

Eichel's goal was his 31st, his most since scoring 36 in the 2019-20 season for Buffalo. Adin Hill made 19 stops.

William Karlsson's second-period assist for Vegas gave him 60 points this season, the second time he's reached the mark. He had 78 points in the 2017-18 season.

Karlsson remains the club's single-season goals leader at 43, with Jonathan Marchessault coming one short despite 13 shots against the Ducks, including seven on goal. Marchessault scored only one goal in his final seven games.

The Knights made a concerted effort to get Marchessault the record, sometimes feeding him the puck when there were better options. He had nine shots in the first period alone, four on goal to match the Ducks' first-period total. Four other shots were blocked and one missed the net.

Anaheim didn't take its first shot on goal until the 10-minute mark.

"We were asleep in the first 10, 12 minutes," Ducks coach Greg Cronin said. "We didn't have our legs. They weren't moving their feet. They weren't moving the puck. Vegas was. We were very fortunate we weren't down 2-0 in the first 10 minutes."

After a scoreless first period, Vatrano scored at 4:25 of the second and Eichel at 18:47. That was Vegas' ninth power-play goal this month, tying Calgary for most in the NHL.

LaCombe and Vatrano scored 29 seconds apart early in the third period to give Anaheim the lead for good. Vatrano's final goal came with 15 seconds left on an empty-netter with the Knights on a 6-on-4 power play.

Ducks defenseman William Lagesson skated in his 100th career game.

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