Colorado Avalanche miss NHL playoffs for first time since 1994

Kariya scored the winner 10:38 into the third period on a pass from Forsberg to help the Nashville Predators beat the Avalanche 4-2 on Saturday night, knocking Colorado out of the playoff race.

The Predators clinched the fourth seed in the conference and will begin the first round of playoffs at home against the San Jose Sharks.

Colorado pulled goalie Peter Budaj with 1:01 remaining and J.P. Dumont scored an empty-net goal with 24 seconds left. It was Dumont’s second goal of the game.

Tomas Vokoun stopped 28 shots as he improved to 9-4-3 in his last 16 games.

Kariya played one season for the Avalanche and Forsberg spent nine seasons in a Quebec and Colorado sweater. Forsberg made his first appearance in Denver on Saturday night since he signed a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers before the 2005-06 season.

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David Legwand tied the game at 2-2 earlier in the period.

The Avalanche had never missed the post-season since moving to Colorado from Quebec before the 1995-96 season.

The team made a late-season charge, going 14-2-2 in its last 18 games – collecting 30 of a possible 36 points – but it wasn’t enough.

The Avalanche finish up the season Sunday night against the Calgary Flames, a team Colorado was trying to catch for the eighth and final playoff spot out of the Western Conference.

Budaj finished with 28 saves. It’s the first time he’s been beaten in regulation since Feb. 22.