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Vegas dominates St. Louis 6-4, one win from West's top seed

Mark Stone scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection with under 7 minutes left, and the Vegas Golden Knights took a big step toward clinching the top seed in the Western Conference by beating the St. Louis Blues 6-4 in round-robin play Thursday night.

Vegas would be the West's No. 1 seed with a win against Colorado on Saturday. Despite leading the conference when the NHL season was shut down in March, defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis can finish no higher than third and needs to beat Dallas on Sunday to avoid the No. 4 seed.

The Golden Knights dominated the Blues in each team's second round-robin game, outshooting them 38-17. St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington was sharp early and made 32 saves but wound up getting shelled.

St. Louis Blues' Colton Parayko (55) celebrates a goal against Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the second period of an NHL hockey playoff game Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason FransonCanadian Press via AP)

Alex Tuch and Shea Theodore each scored twice for Vegas, while defenseman Zach Whitecloud and Stone added a goal each. Tuch also had an assist on Whitecloud's goal.

After Robin Lehner won Vegas' first game against Dallas, Marc-Andre Fleury was solid in making 13 saves against St. Louis. Fleury figures to be the Golden Knights' starting goalie when they start their best-of-seven playoff series next week.

Like the East's top-seeded Boston Bruins, who they beat in the 2019 Cup Final, the Blues have some work to do before moving into an elimination series. They got two goals from defenseman Colton Parayko, David Perron's second in two games and one from Troy Brouwer, who was inserted into the lineup amid several injuries.

St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington (50) looks on as the Vegas Golden Knights celebrate a goal during second-period NHL hockey playoff game action in Edmonton, Alberta, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (Jason FransonThe Canadian Press via AP)

NOTES: Scoring forward Vladimir Tarasenko, forward Robert Thomas and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson were all scratched for the Blues. ... Max Pacioretty was again out for the Golden Knights. ... Neither Ryan Reaves nor Lehner took a knee during the anthems after doing so before the Dallas game.

For more AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

St. Louis Blues' Vince Dunn (29) and Vegas Golden Knights' Tomas Nosek (92) battle in front as Blues goalie Jordan Binnington (50) looks for the shot during second-period NHL hockey playoff game action in Edmonton, Alberta, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (Jason FransonThe Canadian Press via AP)

St. Louis Blues' Alexander Steen (20) is checked by Vegas Golden Knights' Paul Stastny (26) as Blues goalie Jordan Binnington (50) looks for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey playoff game Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason FransonCanadian Press via AP)

St. Louis Blues' Robert Bortuzzo (41) is checked by Vegas Golden Knights Tomas Nosek (92) during second-period NHL hockey playoff game action in Edmonton, Alberta, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (Jason FransonThe Canadian Press via AP)

Vegas Golden Knights celebrate a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey playoff game against the St. Louis Blues Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason FransonCanadian Press via AP)

St. Louis Blues' Colton Parayko (55) scores a goal on Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the second period of an NHL hockey playoff game Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason FransonCanadian Press via AP)

St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington (50) makes a save as players crash into the net during first-period NHL hockey playoff game action against the Vegas Golden Knights in Edmonton, Alberta, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (Jason FransonThe Canadian Press via AP)