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Vancouver Canucks beat Colorado 1-0 in overtime, clinch division crown

NHL.com @NHL

DENVER - Henrik Sedin scored 40 seconds into overtime and Roberto Luongo stopped 22 shots for his second straight shutout Saturday to help the Vancouver Canucks clinch the Northwest Division title with a 1-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

By edging Calgary for first place, Vancouver's second division crown in three seasons, the Canucks also locked up the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs in their final game of the regular season. Vancouver (45-27-10) will enter the post-season on a three-game winning streak.

Sedin scored by banking in a shot off the skate of Colorado defenceman Scott Hannan. It was his 22nd goal of the season.

Colorado, which will wrap up the season Sunday at home against St. Louis, will finish last in the West for the first time since the team relocated to Denver from Quebec in 1995. The Avalanche have the third fewest points (68) in the NHL, behind the New York Islanders (61) and Tampa Bay (66).

Luongo, who blanked Los Angeles on Thursday, extended the franchise record with his ninth shutout this season. He has 47 in the NHL, tying him with San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov for fourth among active players. New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur is first with 101.

Peter Budaj finished with 32 saves for Colorado.

The Canucks secured the division title once the game reached overtime. Had they lost in regulation, it would have set the stage for Calgary to win it with a victory over Edmonton on Saturday night. The Flames had a tiebreaker edge over the Canucks.

Luongo was exceptional in the second period, stopping a breakaway chance by T.J. Hensick and gobbling up a loose puck in the crease before Darcy Tucker could get his stick on it.

Luongo even thwarted a shot by his own defenceman Alexander Edler, who inadvertently poked the puck into the chest of the Canucks goalie trying to break up a pass.

Vancouver dominated the opening period, outshooting the Avalanche 13-1 at one point, but had nothing to show for it as Budaj turned everything aside.

Ian Laperriere played in his 1,000th NHL game Saturday, becoming the second Avalanche player to attain that milestone this season. Adam Foote reached the mark on Oct. 12.

Laperriere made his debut on March 3, 1994, while with the St. Louis Blues. The gritty forward has played for four teams, and spent the last four seasons with the Avalanche.

Notes: Vancouver LW Taylor Pyatt missed a fifth straight game after his fiancee, Carly Bragnalo, was killed in a car crash while vacationing with family in Jamaica. Pyatt has been given an indefinite leave of absence. ... Colorado had eight regulars missing from the lineup, including captain Joe Sakic. He announced Thursday that the strength in his left leg hasn't fully returned following January surgery to repair a herniated disk. It is unknown if he will return for a 21st season. ... The Canucks won their final game of the regular season on the road for the first time in seven years.

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