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McLean, Avalanche Win Shootout In Vancouver

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Brett McLean netted the only shootout goal after scoring twice in regulation to keep the Colorado Avalanche's playoff hopes alive with a 5-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.

Joe Sakic tied the game with his second goal midway through the third period as the Avalanche improved to 10-0-2 in their last 12 games. That kept them five points behind Calgary for the eighth and final playoff spot with two games left against the Flames.

Jose Theodore, playing his first game in a month after Peter Budaj was pulled in the first period, stopped Trevor Linden, Brendan Morrison and Daniel Sedin in the shootout to preserve the win.

Milan Hejduk appeared to end it with 1:57 left in overtime, but it was waved off because he first knocked the puck out of the air with a high stick, and Andrew Brunette's deflection bounced up on top of the net with 4.7 seconds left.

Taylor Pyatt had two goals, and Daniel Sedin and Jeff Cowan also scored for the Canucks, who lost for the first time in five games and failed to clinch a playoff spot. Vancouver can still claim a postseason berth with a win in Colorado on Tuesday.

Roberto Luongo made 26 saves in regulation and overtime as the Canucks moved into a tie with Minnesota atop the Northwest Division.

It was a night of Colorado milestones and Canucks precedents.

Sakic scored both his goals in similar fashion, sneaking into the slot to convert a pass from Andrew Brunette, extending Sakic's point streak to six games (seven goals and six assists) and Brunette's to eight (one goal and 13 assists).

It also moved Sakic into a tie with former teammate Ray Bourque for ninth place on the career points list with 1,579 points, and into a 15th-place tie with Dino Ciccarelli on the career goal list with 610.

Henrik Sedin had three assists for 63 this season, moving one ahead of Andres Boudrais' franchise record set in 1974-75, five years before Henrik was born. And Pyatt registered the first 20-goal season of his career. He opened the scoring midway through the first period, redirecting Daniel Sedin's cross-ice feed.

Sakic tied it 3 minutes later, but Daniel Sedin jammed the puck past Budaj on a power play with 3:28 left in the first period and Cowan made it 3-1 from a sharp angle just 75 seconds later.

That ended Budaj's night after just 10 stops. Theodore came off the bench for his first action in a month and barely had time to get loose before his teammates closed the gap to one goal. McLean's long shot off the boards appeared to change directions off a skate before going between Luongo's legs 16 seconds later.

Luongo sprawled to rob Milan Hejduk twice on consecutive Colorado power plays early in the second period before Pyatt scored his 20th goal on a pass from behind the net. But McLean came out of the penalty box, took a long pass and beat Luongo on a breakaway with 1:49 left to make it 4-3 and set up a tight finish.

Theodore made six saves in regulation and overtime for his first win since Feb. 6.

Notes: Vancouver got defenseman Willie Mitchell back from a groin injury, but Mattias Ohlund joined fellow top-3 defender Sami Salo (groin) on the sidelines because of concerns about a cut on his elbow becoming infected. ... Colorado's Joel Quenneville coached his 750th career game, becoming the 29th coach to reach that milestone and just the fifth to also play more than 750 NHL games. ... Budaj was 9-0-2 in his previous 11 games.

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