NHL Game Summary - Nashville at Colorado
(Sunday, April 4th)
Final Score: Nashville 2, Colorado 1 (OT)
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - David Legwand scored just 32 seconds into overtime to lift the playoff-bound Nashville Predators to a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in the regular-season finale for both clubs at the Pepsi Center.
Scott Hartnell scored the tying goal in the third period for Nashville (38-29-11-4), which will head to the playoffs for the first time in the franchise's six-year history. The Predators qualified as the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs on Saturday when Edmonton lost to Vancouver, and will take on the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings.
"The Vancouver win last night took a big weight off all of us," Hartnell said.
Chris Mason gave Tomas Vokoun a day off in the Nashville net and finished with 38 saves. Vokoun had played the past 15 games.
John-Michael Liles scored less than two minutes into the game for the lone Colorado goal and Tommy Salo made 21 saves. The Avalanche (40-22-13-7), who failed to capture a division title for the first time in 10 years when Vancouver won Saturday to earn the Northwest crown, will be the fourth seed in this year's playoffs and will open with the Dallas Stars.
"You could tell in warmups. There was just nothing on the line here," Salo said.
Colorado also lost left wing Paul Kariya with what appeared to be a right leg injury. He became twisted with a Nashville player with just over two minutes left in the third period and fell hard to the ice. After being tended to, Kariya was helped off the ice and into the locker room.
The Predators scored on the only shot of overtime.
Legwand carried the puck into the Colorado zone along the right wing and dropped it back to Dan Hamhuis, who tried to put a shot on net. The puck, instead, deflected off the stick of a Colorado player and went directly to the right side of the crease for Legwand, who quickly fired a shot off the post for the winner.
"It was a flukey goal," Salo said. "It hit the post and hit my head and went in."
The Predators tied the game at 9:29 of the third period after a giveaway by Salo. The Colorado netminder tried to clear his own zone, but his pass went directly to Hartnell, who raced across the blue line with a 2-on-1.
Hartnell sent the puck to the left circle for Vladimir Orszagh, who drew the attention of Salo. Orszagh then fed the puck back across the top of the crease to a wide open Hartnell, who deposited the puck into the empty side of the cage.
"We did not want to back in. We wanted the two points," Hartnell added.
The Avalanche scored just 1:52 into the contest when Liles netted his 10th goal of the season. Matthew Barnaby controlled the puck in the right corner and fed a pass into the slot for Liles, who snuck in from the point and snapped a wrist shot past Mason through the five-hole.
Mason, however, kept his team in the game with 13 saves in the opening period, as his teammates mustered just six shots against Salo.
Colorado also dominated the second period, but again Mason came up big by stopping all 17 shots he faced to keep it a one-goal game.
Mason got a glove on a point-blank shot from the right side of the crease by Joe Sakic with just under six minutes left in the period and Nashville then had a couple of good chances at the other end.
Steve Sullivan raced into the Colorado zone on a breakaway, but rang a shot from the low right circle off the post and Greg Johnson followed with another shot off the iron moments later.
Nashville won the season series, 3-1-0, capturing the last three meetings, including two in overtime...Barnaby posted four goals and five assists in 13 games with Colorado following his trade from the New York Rangers.
04/04 18:57:57 ET