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Avs Win Season Finale

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche

DENVER (AP) - Joe Sakic scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, giving him 100 points for the season, and leading Colorado past Calgary 6-3 in the season finale on Sunday night.

The Avalanche will miss the playoffs for the first time since moving to Denver despite 44 wins and 95 points. Colorado is the first team in NHL history to record at least 93 points in a season and not reach the playoffs.

This game was setting up to be an all-or-nothing affair until the Avalanche fell to the Predators on Saturday. Colorado's loss to Nashville handed the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference to the Flames, who lost to Edmonton at home.

Sakic also had two assists to give him his sixth career 100-point campaign. At 37, Sakic became the second-oldest player in NHL history to reach 100 points, joining Gordie Howe, who had 103 points at age 40 in 1968-69.

"Whenever you're mentioned with Mr. Hockey, I don't know how to react," Sakic said. "One day I'll sit back and appreciate what happened."

Following Sunday's win, the Pepsi Center crowd stood and gave the Avs a prolonged ovation when the game ended and the team held their sticks high in appreciation on the ice before filing through the tunnel.

Starting goaltenders Miikka Kiprusoff and Peter Budaj were spectators, replaced by Jamie McLennan and Jose Theodore, respectively. Sakic's power-play goal 44 seconds into the third period gave Colorado its first lead at 4-3 and moved him into a tie with Bobby Hull for 14th place on the career goals list with 610.

Sakic had 15 assists against the Flames this year, a single-season franchise record. His 20 points against Calgary this season tied Peter Stastny's franchise record set in 1987-88 against the Hartford Whalers.

And Sakic's 1,589 career points are one shy of Phil Esposito for eighth place in league history.

Scott Parker followed Sakic's goal with his first goal since Dec. 20, 2005, making it 5-3, and Paul Stastny capped the comeback with a goal in the final minute.

The Flames took a 1-0 lead into the second period, where the teams traded goals until it was 3-3.

Former Avs forward Alex Tanguay assisted on Calgary's first two goals, his second one to Marcus Nilson that broke a 1-1 tie. Five minutes later, Sakic got his first assist when Andrew Brunette tied it at 2.

After Stephane Yelle's goal gave Calgary a 3-2 lead, Sakic assisted on Wojtek Wolski's goal that tied it at 3.

David Moss beat Colorado defenseman Jeff Finger for the rebound and knocked it in for a 1-0 Calgary lead in the first period. The Avs tied it 1:14 into the second period when Ben Guite picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and fired a wrist shot from the slot that went off the crossbar and into the net.

Despite going 15-2-2 in their last 19 games, the Avs won't be in the playoffs for the first time since the franchise moved from Quebec 12 years ago.

Notes: No team in NHL history scored as many points as the Avalanche (95) and failed to make the playoffs ... This was a makeup of the Dec. 21 game that was postponed by a blizzard ... Avs F Marek Svatos sat out with a groin injury.


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