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Avalanche Clinches Best Record

April 03, 2001|From Associated Press

One goal down, a big one remaining for the Stanley Cup-aspiring Colorado Avalanche.

Joe Sakic scored three goals, including the game-winner late in the second period, and the Avalanche clinched the Presidents' Trophy with a 5-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night at Denver.

Colorado assured itself of having the league's best regular-season record and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The Avalanche, who lead Detroit by eight points (115-107) with three games remaining for each team, also won the Presidents' Trophy in 1996-97.

"Winning the Presidents' Trophy was our long-term goal for the season," Colorado Coach Bob Hartley said. "Now we can put it behind us and start gearing up for the playoffs."

Sakic, the NHL's second-leading scorer, pushed his goals total to 49 and points total to 112. It was his second hat trick of the season and 11th of his career.

Colorado goaltender Patrick Roy, who had played only two full games in the previous two weeks because of tendinitis in his right knee, had 22 saves to post his career-high 39th victory of the season. Edmonton's Tommy Salo had 24 saves.

Edmonton (89 points) fell from fifth to sixth place in the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Kings and Vancouver.

Sakic's first two goals gave Colorado a 2-0 lead in the first. At 6:51, Milan Hejduk skated down the right side and fed Sakic, who shot just inside the right circle. Sakic scored again at 16:47 from the left circle after a pass from Peter Forsberg.

San Jose 4, Minnesota 2--Teemu Selanne scored two goals, including the go-ahead goal early in the third period at San Jose, as the Sharks rallied to defeat the Wild.

After two sluggish periods, the Sharks scored twice in 17 seconds on goals by Mike Ricci and Selanne.

San Jose, which led the Pacific Division for much of the season, got its third victory in four games--but only its fourth in its last 16. The Sharks moved into a tie with Edmonton for fifth place in the Western Conference.

New Jersey 4, Chicago 3--Randy McKay scored with 3:42 remaining to cap a three-goal third-period rally that gave the Devils a victory over the Blackhawks at East Rutherford, N.J., and the Atlantic Division title.

Patrik Elias and Alexander Mogilny scored power-play goals earlier in the period for the Devils, who moved into a tie for first-place in the Eastern Conference with Ottawa with three games left in the regular reason.

Petr Sykora also scored, and John Vanbiesbrouck stopped 22 shots in winning his fourth in a row since being acquired from the New York Islanders.

Boston 3, Montreal 2--Andrei Kovalenko's overtime goal gave the Bruins a victory over the Canadiens at Boston, and they regained the lead in the race for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Boston seemed in good shape with a 2-0 lead after two periods on goals by Bill Guerin and Mikko Eloranta. But Saku Koivu scored for Montreal at 4:17 of the third and Oleg Petrov tied it less than three minutes later.

The victory gave Boston 84 points, one more than idle Carolina.

Dallas 4, Calgary 4--Benoit Gratton's rebound goal with 3:24 left in regulation lifted the Flames into a tie with the Stars at Dallas.

Mike Modano had given the Stars a 4-3 lead a minute into the third period, and Dallas remained unbeaten in its last 11 games (8-0-3). Modano notched his 30th of the season from low in the right circle, converting Brett Hull's pass from behind the goal line.

Modano became the first player in franchise history with eight seasons of 30 or more goals.

Buffalo 5, Florida 3--Jason Woolley, who played for Florida from 1994-97, had two goals and an assist to lead the Sabres at Sunrise, Fla.

New York Islanders 4, Pittsburgh 1--Bill Muckalt and Dave Scatchard scored against former teammate Garth Snow as the Islanders defeated the Mario Lemieux-less Penguins at Uniondale, N.Y.

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