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Golden Knights headed back to playoffs

Jonathan Kozub / National Hockey League / Getty

The reigning Stanley Cup champions are headed back to the postseason.

The Vegas Golden Knights secured the last playoff spot in the Western Conference with their 7-2 drubbing of the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues' 5-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.

Sin City rode a three-goal first period and a similarly dominant final frame to take care of business against the Wild.

It's been a bit of a roller-coaster campaign for the Golden Knights, who went from battling for first place in the Pacific Division to grinding it out for a wild-card spot.

Vegas had to overcome lengthy injury absences to many of its key players, such as Jack Eichel, Shea Theodore, Adin Hill, and Mark Stone.

Stone is currently out with a spleen injury, though he returned to practice in a non-contact jersey on Friday.

The Golden Knights have only failed to make the playoffs once in their seven years of existence, and just one of those appearances ended in a first-round exit.

Vegas beat the Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars, and Florida Panthers en route to its first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history. Jonathan Marchessault, an original Golden Knight, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs after tallying 13 goals and 25 points in 22 games.

The team made the final in its inaugural season in 2017-18 but lost to the Washington Capitals.

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