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Avs' Great Run Ends With 4-2 Loss

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
DENVER (AP) - Colorado was eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday night after falling to the Nashville Predators 4-2.

The Avalanche will be home for the playoffs for the first time since 1994 thanks to former Avs players Paul Kariya and Peter Forsberg.

Kariya scored the game winner 10:38 into the third period on a pass from Forsberg to knock Colorado out of the playoff race.

The Predators clinched the fourth seed in the conference and will host the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the playoffs.

Colorado pulled goalie Peter Budaj with 1:01 remaining and J.P. Dumont scored an empty-net goal with 24 seconds left. It was Dumont's second goal of the game.

Tomas Vokoun stopped 29 shots as he improved to 9-4-3 over his last 16 games.

Kariya played one season for the Avalanche and Forsberg spent nine seasons in a Quebec and Colorado sweater. Forsberg made his first appearance in Denver on Saturday night since he signed a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers before the 2005-06 season.

Forsberg's two assists Saturday night gave him 42 for the season.

David Legwand tied the game at 2-2 earlier in the period when he slipped a shot between the pads of Budaj.

The Avalanche had never missed the postseason since moving to Colorado from Quebec before the 1995-96 season.

The team made a late-season charge, going 14-2-2 over the last 18 games - collecting 30 of a possible 36 points - but it wasn't enough.

The Avalanche finish up the season Sunday night against the Calgary Flames, a team Colorado was trying to catch for the eighth and final playoff spot out of the Western Conference.

Budaj finished with 28 saves. It's the first time he's been beaten in regulation since Feb. 22.

Sakic had two assists Saturday night, giving him 62 this season. He has 1,586 career points and needs four more to tie Phil Esposito for eighth place.

Andrew Brunette gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead with his second-period goal. It was his 26th of the season.

Colorado jumped out to a 1-0 lead early in the first period when Milan Hejduk scored his 35th goal of the season on a pass from Karlis Skrastins.

The Predators tied the game at 1-1 when Dumont scored. Dumont has a career-high 66 points this season.

There was a video tribute to Forsberg early in the first period, which received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Forsberg raised his stick in appreciation.

"It's special coming here," said Forsberg, who still has an apartment in Denver.

Notes: Avalanche F Marek Svatos was a late scratch Saturday night with a groin injury. ... The Predators had two forwards go down Saturday night. Jerred Smithson suffered a right leg injury in the first period and Vernon Fiddler suffered a right arm injury in the second. Neither returned. Fiddler had an assist before leaving the game.


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