NHL Game Summary - Colorado at Vancouver
(Thursday, April 5th)
Final Score: Colorado 3, Vancouver 1
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Milan Hejduk's hat trick accounted for all of Colorado's goals as the Avalanche kept their post-season hopes alive with a 3-1 victory over Vancouver.
Paul Stastny picked up an assist on all three Hejduk tallies and Peter Budaj finished with 17 saves for Colorado, which moved within three points of Calgary for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"Right now everybody's clicking, everybody's contributing," said Budaj. "We believe we can beat any kind of team. It's fun and we're creating momentum at the end of the season."
The Avalanche, who are 14-1-2 over their last 17 contests, have home games remaining against Nashville on Saturday and the Flames on Sunday, the latter of which is a makeup from a game postponed in December due to a blizzard.
Calgary lost to San Jose on Thursday.
Sami Salo had the lone goal and Roberto Luongo ended with 27 saves for the Canucks, who could have clinched the Northwest Division title with a victory. The Minnesota Wild beat Edmonton on Thursday to move within one point of Vancouver for the division lead.
The Canucks' final two games are on the road, with trips to San Jose on Saturday and Phoenix on Sunday, while the Wild have one game left against St. Louis on Saturday in Minnesota.
"It was a disappointing effort," said Luongo. "We finished the regular season at home on a pretty bad note, there. We're not happy with it."
With the score knotted at 1-1 after two periods of play, Hejduk's second goal of the game just under seven minutes into the third put the Avalanche up for good. Stastny created the scoring chance, controlling the puck behind the Vancouver net before finding Hejduk in the slot for the score.
Hejduk then handed Colorado a two-goal cushion at the 10:54 mark. From a scrum behind the Canucks' net, the puck squirted in front for Hejduk, who slipped a backhander past Luongo for the goal.
Vancouver pulled Luongo late for an extra attacker, but Colorado held on for the key victory.
Hejduk wasted no time in getting his first goal of the game, scoring just 25 seconds into the opening period. Salo came back for the Canucks, finding the back of the net at the 7:59 mark to tie the game.
Colorado took the season series with Vancouver, 5-3...Both teams came up empty on the power play, as Colorado went 0-for-4 and Vancouver went 0-for-2.
04/06 01:44:15 ET