Avalanche Loss Puts 3 Teams in Playoffs

Wednesday, March 28th 2007, 7:53 am
By: News On 6

With their own playoff hopes fading, the Colorado Avalanche pulled off an unusual hat trick. Colorado's 3-0 loss to Vancouver on Tuesday night put three of its Western Conference foes _ the Canucks, Dallas and Minnesota _ into the playoffs.

Roberto Luongo stopped 34 shots and Sami Salo broke a scoreless tie with a third-period power-play goal for the Canucks.

The loss was critical to the Avalanche, who fell seven points behind the Flames for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

``Our margin of error was minimal going into today's game, now it is no room,'' Colorado coach Quenneville said. ``We basically have to win every game going forward.''

In other NHL games, it was: Pittsburgh 4, Washington 3; Florida 5, Tampa Bay 2; Boston 3, Ottawa 2; Montreal 6, the New York Rangers 4; Toronto 6, Carolina 1; New Jersey 3, the New York Islanders 2; Nashville 4, Edmonton 3; Columbus 4, St. Louis 1; Calgary 1, Minnesota 0 in a shootout; Dallas 6, Phoenix 0; and San Jose 3, Los Angeles 1.

Luongo posted his fifth shutout and the 32nd of his career. The NHL co-leader in wins with 44 moved to within three of matching Bernie Parent's record of 47 wins set with Philadelphia in 1973-74.

``I was disappointed with my performance last Sunday,'' said Luongo. ``I was more focused tonight and more focused to play better.''

Luongo was in net when Vancouver saw a 4-2 lead disappear and eventually lose in a shootout to Colorado in his last start.

Vancouver matched a franchise record with its 46th victory and took a one-point lead over Minnesota in the Northwest Division race.

Jose Theodore stopped 26 shots in his first start since Feb. 25. Colorado had been 10-0-2 since Feb. 27.

Salo's 13th goal came with the Canucks on a 5-on-3 power play that lasted a full 2 minutes. Ken Klee and Joe Sakic were penalized on the same sequence at 1:14 of the third period.

A minute later, Salo took a pass from Henrik Sedin in the deep slot. Salo sent a slap shot through a screen that got past Theodore.

``I saw an opening and we had a good screen on the goaltender,'' Salo said. ``We were just lucky enough to have a two-man power play.''

Cooke and Daniel Sedin's empty-net goals came after Theodore was pulled for the last 1:01.

Devils 3, Islanders 2

Martin Brodeur broke his New Jersey record with a 44th victory, and the visiting Devils clinched their 10th straight playoff berth.

Parise and Scott Gomez staked the Devils to a 2-0 lead and David Clarkson added a third-period, power-play goal against backup goalie Mike Dunham, who subbed for the injured Rick DiPietro.

The Islanders dropped into a three-way tie for ninth in the Eastern Conference _ two points behind Montreal and Tampa Bay, tied for seventh _ with only six games remaining.

Sharks 3, Kings 1

Patrick Marleau scored two goals, Bill Guerin added the go-ahead score and host San Jose clinched a playoff berth.

Christian Ehrhoff had a career-best three assists and Evgeni Nabokov made 24 saves for the Sharks, who shook off a sluggish start in their return from a lengthy road trip to win their fourth straight home game _ their seventh victory in nine games overall.

Brian Willsie scored for Los Angeles.

Penguins 4, Capitals 3

Ryan Whitney scored two second-period goals to help visiting Pittsburgh clinch its first playoff berth since 2001.

Sidney Crosby, the NHL's leading scorer with 113 points, and Michel Ouellet also scored for the Penguins, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots.

Alexander Semin, Boyd Gordon and Milan Jurcina scored for Washington.

Stars 6, Coyotes 0

Mike Ribeiro scored two goals, Mike Modano notched the 505th of his career to extend his record for U.S.-born players, and host Dallas clinched a playoff berth.

Marty Turco made 21 saves for his 30th career shutout, and the Stars also got goals from Jere Lehtinen, Ladislav Nagy and Loui Eriksson to improve to 8-1-1 in their past 10 games.

Flames 1, Wild 0, SO

Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla scored in the shootout and Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 38 shots to help visiting Calgary snap Minnesota's nine-game winning streak.

The Wild still managed to clinch a playoff spot with Colorado's loss to Vancouver.

Canadiens 6, Rangers 4

Alex Kovalev got his second straight two-goal game as host Montreal outscored New York 5-0 in the second period and moved into a tie with Tampa Bay for seventh in the Eastern Conference.

The Rangers remain one point ahead of Montreal, in sixth place.

Maple Leafs 6, Hurricanes 1

Chad Kilger scored twice and host Toronto helped its playoff chances with a rout of Carolina.

Boyd Devereaux, Pavel Kubina, Yanic Perreault and Alexei Ponikarovsky also scored for the Maple Leafs, who are tied for ninth in the East with defending champion Carolina and the New York Islanders.

Predators 4, Oilers 3

J.P. Dumont scored a goal and had two assists, and host Nashville held off Edmonton and broke a tie with Buffalo and Detroit for tops in the NHL.

Alexander Radulov, Shea Weber and Jason Arnott also scored for the Predators, who matched a franchise record with their 49th win.

Ales Hemsky, Petr Sykora and Toby Peterson scored for the Oilers.

Bruins 3, Senators 2

Zdeno Chara scored the game-winner against his former team to help visiting Boston snap a five-game losing streak.

Patrice Bergeron and Petr Kalus also scored for Boston while Joey MacDonald stopped 32 shots for his third win of the year.

Dany Heatley and Mike Fisher scored for Ottawa. Ray Emery had 14 saves.

Panthers 5, Lightning 2

Olli Jokinen had a goal and two assists, Nathan Horton scored twice, and Ed Belfour stopped 27 shots to lead visiting Florida.

Stephen Weiss and Bryan Allen also scored for the Panthers. Jokinen has six goals and seven assists in his past five games, and pulled into a tie with Pavel Bure for second place on the franchise goal-scoring list with 152.

Brad Richards and Filip Kuba scored for Tampa Bay.

Blue Jackets 4, Blues 1

Fredrik Modin scored twice and Fredrik Norrena stopped 19 shots, helping visiting Columbus beat St. Louis.

Rick Nash added his 24th goal and David Vyborny and Ron Hainsey each had two assists to help the Blue Jackets win their fourth in a row.