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Avs Fall To Canucks In OT, Clinch At Least Seventh Seed

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Anson Carter tied it with 42.4 seconds left in regulation and Brendan Morrison scored with 36.6 seconds left in overtime in the Vancouver Canucks' 4-3, season-ending victory over Colorado on Saturday night. Colorado's one point guarantees that the Avs will finish either sixth or seventh in the Western Conference.

Todd Bertuzzi and Markus Naslund also scored to help the Canucks win for the second time in the final eight games, a streak that saw their playoff fate sealed by back-to-back losses to San Jose earlier in the week. Picked to contend for the Stanley Cup after winning the Northwest Division in 2003-04, Vancouver instead missed the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.

Despite the loss, Colorado locked up at least seventh place when Alex Tanguay's second goal put them ahead with 2:06 left to play, ensuring the Avalanche will avoid a first-round playoff matchup with the NHL-leading Detroit Red Wings.

The single point puts Colorado two ahead of Edmonton heading into the season finale with the Oilers on Monday night, but the Avalanche have two more wins -- the first tiebreaker.

Pierre Turgeon tied it 8:22 into the third period and Tanguay, who opened the scoring on a deflection with 13.5 seconds left in the first period, banged in a late rebound with his 400th point as the Avalanche moved one point behind sixth-place Anaheim.

Mika Noronen, making just his second start and fourth appearance since being acquired from Buffalo at the March 9 trade deadline, finished with 31 saves for the Canucks.

Jose Theodore made 26 saves in his third straight start since returning from a broken heel, but was beaten cleanly on the short side by Naslund's wrist shot from the left faceoff circle off the rush at 13:46 of the second period.

Theodore had little chance on Bertuzzi's rebound goal earlier in the period, and got caught looking the wrong way on Carter's late wraparound. Carter led the Canucks with 33 goals.

Turgeon used his skate to convert a rebound of his own and tie the game after a video review determined there was no kicking motion as he drove hard to the net.

Morrison won it with a one-timer from the right faceoff circle.

Notes: Vancouver players gave randomly selected fans the jerseys off their backs after the game. Canucks G Alex Auld was selected the team MVP after going 33-26-6 in his first full season while playing 56 of 60 games after Dan Cloutier suffered a season-ending knee injury in November.

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