ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Colorado Avalanche remained in
contention for an unprecedented ninth consecutive division title -- barely.
Milan Hejduk scored his second goal of the game with 10 seconds
left in overtime and the Avalanche beat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks
4-3 Friday night, despite blowing a two-goal lead in the final 10
minutes of regulation.
''To still be in the hunt with only one game left says a lot
about the guys on this team,'' coach Tony Granato said. ''All we
can do now is prepare for the game on Sunday.''
Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote also scored for Colorado, which needs a victory in the regular-season finale Sunday against St. Louis -- and a defeat by the Vancouver Canucks against Los Angeles -- to
capture the Northwest Division crown. By going overtime, Colorado
got the point it needed to clinch home-ice advantage in the first
''Vancouver is the heavy favorite, but it's just one game, and
L.A. could win it,'' Hejduk said. ''We've been focused on getting
the home-ice advantage in the first round. Once we did that
tonight, we tried to win the game.''
Hejduk leads the NHL with 49 goals -- one more than Vancouver's
Markus Naslund. His winner also gave the Avalanche a
franchise-record seventh overtime victory and tied the league's
single-season record with their 28th overtime game of the season.
The record was set three seasons ago by Edmonton and Vancouver.
Hejduk scored his first goal just 72 seconds after the opening
faceoff, carrying the puck into the Anaheim zone and scoring on a
30-foot wrist shot from the slot as Anaheim goaltender
Jean-Sebastien Giguere fanned on it with his stick.
''I'd like to get 50,'' Hejduk said. ''It's not something you
can do every year, and it would be in a big game.''
Hejduk ended this one when he cruised down the slot and
redirected defenseman Rob Blake's centering pass from the top of
the right circle. It was the 23rd goal in 29 games for Hejduk.
''I knew he's be there. He's always around the net,'' Blake
said. ''You can count on him.''
Forsberg, trying to become the first player in franchise history
to win the league's scoring title, increased his point total to 103
with his 28th goal. He trails Naslund by one point in the race for
the Art Ross Trophy.
Anaheim's Steve Thomas had two goals, along with his 500th NHL
assist. Niclas Havelid also scored for the playoff-bound Mighty
Ducks, who completed the most successful regular season in their
10-year history with 95 points and a 40-27-9-6 record. Last season,
they finished last in the Pacific Division and 13th in the Western
Conference at 29-42-8-3.
It was a 5-3 victory at Colorado on Jan. 9 that ended a 0-6-1 slide
and triggered a 12-4-0 stretch and turned Anaheim's season around.
''We started out a long way from a playoff berth, so it's been a
very successful season,'' Anaheim's Paul Kariya said.
Thomas has 10 goals in 12 games since coming to Anaheim in a
March 11 trade from Chicago. The 19-year veteran, who scored only
four times in 69 games with the Blackhawks, has more goals since
the trading deadline than than any other player who changed teams.
''I was playing nine, 10 minutes a game when I was in Chicago.
Now I'm playing 17, 18 minutes a game,'' Thomas said. ''I'm going
to go out there in the playoffs and hopefully set a good example. I
don't have any problems stepping up and trying to help out.''
Colorado goalie Patrick Roy extended his own NHL-record victory
total to 550 with 19 saves, after blowing a 3-1 lead in the third
The Mighty Ducks, who drew only their seventh sellout,
finished with an average home attendance of 13,915 -- just 1,913 a game more than last season. ... Roy, a three-time Vezina Trophy
winner, has never won the trophy since Colorado acquired him from
Montreal in December 1995. ... Colorado, which lost the first
three meetings with Anaheim, has never been swept in a season
series of four or more games in the eight years since the franchise
relocated from Quebec to Denver. ... A club-record four players -- Kariya, Petr Sykora, Havelid and Steve Rucchin -- appeared in every
game for Anaheim during the regular season. ... Colorado's Mike
Keane does not have a point in his last 22 games. Avalanche captain
Joe Sakic has no goals in his last nine games, his longest drought