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Avalanche overcome Canucks, clinch postseason berth

Apr 2, 2008 - 6:20 AM
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker) -- The Colorado Avalanche overcame a two-goal deficit and secured a spot in the Western Conference playoffs with a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.

The Avalanche (43-31-7), who have 93 points with one game left in the regular season, are tied with Dallas (43-29-7), but the Stars have three games remaining.

After defenseman Willie Mitchell and Ryan Kesler gave Vancouver a 2-0 lead just 5:50 into the second period, Colorado responded by scoring four consecutive goals.

"I thought in the first period we didn't play as good as we wanted," Avs center Peter Forsberg said. "We kind of sat back and I think Vancouver was much better in the first part of the game.

"After they made the score 2-0, we kind of had no choice but to wake up and play much better than we did."

John-Michael Liles halved the deficit with a power-play tally just over three minutes later. Milan Hejduk forged a 2-2 tie with six minutes left in the session and Wojtek Wolski put the Avalanche in front just 35 seconds later.

"I think they were pretty physical at the start," Avalanche captain Joe Sakic said. "They got up to a 2-0 lead. That power play really helped us and got us going and the next two came pretty quick. It definitely helped change the momentum."

Peter Forsberg, who had three assists in a 6-3 win over Vancouver on Wednesday, scored his first goal of the season just under five minutes into the final session to cap the scoring.

"It's good to get the first goal" added Forsberg. "It's been a few games and it's definitely good for the confidence to get a goal especially now that we're going to the playoffs. It's just good for the confidence to finally get it going."

Vancouver (39-30-10) was trying to hold down the eighth spot in the West but is now looking up at Nashville (40-31-9) in the standings. The Predators skated to a 4-3 overtime victory over St. Louis on Tuesday. Vancouver and Nashville have two games remaining.

"Right now what we've got to do is focus on winning the hockey game on Thursday (against Edmonton)," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "Obviously we know we need help and hopefully we'll get some help but, before that, if we don't win on Thursday it doesn't mean anything. So we'll get everybody pumped up tomorrow and we'll go and have a good game on Thursday."

Mitchell opened the scoring at the 8:24 mark of the first period, unleashing a slap shot that appeared to tip off traffic in the form of defender Ruslan Salei and two Canucks forwards before finding its way past goaltender Jose Theodore. Mitchell was credited with the goal, while Daniel Sedin drew the second assist.

The Canucks doubled their lead with a power-play goal. With Forsberg in the penalty box for interference, Henrik Sedin sent a centering pass from behind Theodore to Kesler, who was parked at the top of the crease.

Kesler's first shot was turned aside by Theodore but he managed to poke the rebound between Theodore's pads for his 21st of the season. Markus Naslund picked up the second assist on the play.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 0 3 1 4
    VANCOUVER 1 1 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: VAN - WILLIE MITCHELL 2 (TREVOR LINDEN, DANIEL SEDIN) 8:24
    2ND PRD: VAN - (PP) RYAN KESLER 21 (HENRIK SEDIN, MARKUS NASLUND)
    5:50
    COL - (PP) JOHN-MICHAEL LILES 6 (JOE SAKIC, MILAN HEJDUK)
    9:13
    COL - MILAN HEJDUK 28

    Apr 2 12:27 AM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 4
    VANCOUVER 2
    3RD PRD: COL - PETER FORSBERG 1 (ANDREW BRUNETTE) 4:53

    Avalanche 4, Canucks 2  3rd - 15:07Apr 2 12:01 AM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 0 3 3
    VANCOUVER 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: VAN - WILLIE MITCHELL 2 (TREVOR LINDEN, DANIEL SEDIN) 8:24
    2ND PRD: VAN - (PP) RYAN KESLER 21 (HENRIK SEDIN, MARKUS NASLUND)
    5:50
    COL - (PP) JOHN-MICHAEL LILES 6 (JOE SAKIC, MILAN HEJDUK)
    9:13
    COL - MIL

    Apr 1 11:35 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 3
    VANCOUVER 2
    2ND PRD: COL - WOJTEK WOLSKI 18 (JOE SAKIC, ANDREW BRUNETTE) 14:32

    Avalanche 3, Canucks 2  2nd - 5:28Apr 1 11:25 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    VANCOUVER 2
    2ND PRD: COL - MILAN HEJDUK 28 (PETER FORSBERG) 13:57

    Avalanche 2, Canucks 2  2nd - 6:03Apr 1 11:24 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 1
    VANCOUVER 2
    2ND PRD: COL - (PP) JOHN-MICHAEL LILES 6 (JOE SAKIC, MILAN HEJDUK)
    9:13

    Avalanche 1, Canucks 2  2nd - 10:47Apr 1 11:16 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 0
    VANCOUVER 2
    2ND PRD: VAN - (PP) RYAN KESLER 21 (HENRIK SEDIN, MARKUS NASLUND) 5:50

    Avalanche 0, Canucks 2  2nd - 14:10Apr 1 11:09 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 0 0
    VANCOUVER 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: VAN - WILLIE MITCHELL 2 (TREVOR LINDEN, DANIEL SEDIN) 8:24
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COL 5 5
    VAN 7 7
    GOALIES: COL - JOSE THEODORE


    Apr 1 10:43 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 0
    VANCOUVER 1
    1ST PRD: VAN - WILLIE MITCHELL 2 (TREVOR LINDEN, DANIEL SEDIN) 8:24

    Avalanche 0, Canucks 1  1st - 11:36Apr 1 10:23 PM
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