Marchessault hat trick leads Golden Knights past Red Wings

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY
Jonathan Marchessault's third hat trick of the season propelled the Golden Knights to a crucial victory and also put the pressure on to re-sign him.

LAS VEGAS — The Golden Knights needed two points out of Saturday’s game against the Red Wings about as badly as they’ve ever needed points out of any game.

And by the grace of Jonathan Marchessault, they got them.

The reigning Conn Smythe winner registered his third hat trick of the season, including two goals in the third period to lead the Golden Knights to a 5-3 win that was a huge relief in the Western Conference playoff race.

“He’s been stepping up for us all year, scoring goals, and tonight was no different,” said Jack Eichel. “He scores goals in all different ways and (his second one) was a big one for sure there to give us the lead late.”

It was a statement game Marchessault, who is set for the biggest contract of his career this offseason. The Golden Knights major deadline acquisitions, of course, have put the team in a position where they simply might not have enough cap space to keep their Stanely Cup Misfit hero.

With performances like the one he delivered on Saturday when the team needed it the most, it will be a lot harder for fans to forgive Kelly McCrimmon if he lets Marchessault walk.

“He’s been here a long time and made a real name for himself here in Vegas,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We’d love for him to be a Golden Knight forever. I enjoy coaching him.

“We have a lot of back and forth. Sometimes it could be contentious. Sometimes it’s hugs and kisses but at the end of the day, he comes to play. He’s scored big goals for this franchise over the years.”

Pavel Dorofeyev and Brayden McNabb each netted goals for the Knights to go along with the three piece from Marchessault.

Defenseman Noah Hanifin chipped in his first point as a member of the Golden Knights, assisting Marchessault’s first goal by making the initial deflection and getting the puck to Eichel, who saucered it to Marchessault for his first period snipe.

“I’m a little familiar with the systems where they play here because we play like that in Calgary a bit, but the guys here have been awesome too,” Hanifin said. “It was a lot of fun. Just a great atmosphere in the arena and yeah, super excited to be here and get a win tonight.”

JT Compher and Shayne Gostisbehere scored for the Red Wings in the loss while one time Knight David Perron tallied an assist on the Gostisbehere goal.

The Knights now look toward Tuesday’s matchup against the Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. local time.