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Canucks edge Avs on fluke goal, clinch Northwest title

DENVER (AP) -- Henrik Sedin scored 40 seconds into overtime and

Roberto Luongo stopped 22 shots for his second straight shutout,

helping the Vancouver Canucks clinch the Northwest Division

title with a 1-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

By edging Calgary for first place, Vancouver's second division

crown in three seasons, the Canucks also locked up the third

seed in the Western Conference playoffs in their final game of

the regular season. Vancouver (45-27-10) will enter the

postseason on a three-game winning streak.

Sedin scored by banking in a shot off the skate of Colorado

defenseman Scott Hannan. It was his 22nd goal of the season.

Colorado, which will wrap up the season Sunday at home against

St. Louis, will finish last in the West for the first time since

the team relocated to Denver from Quebec in 1995. The Avalanche

have the third-fewest points (68) in the NHL, behind the New

York Islanders (61) and Tampa Bay (66).

Luongo, who blanked Los Angeles on Thursday, extended the

franchise record with his ninth shutout this season. He has 47

in the NHL, tying him with San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov for fourth

among active players. New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur is first

with 101.

Peter Budaj finished with 32 saves for Colorado.

The Canucks secured the division title once the game reached

overtime. Had they lost in regulation, it would have set the

stage for Calgary to win it with a victory over Edmonton on

Saturday night. The Flames had a tiebreaker edge over the


Luongo was exceptional in the second period, stopping a

breakaway chance by T.J. Hensick and gobbling up a loose puck in

the crease before Darcy Tucker could get his stick on it.

Luongo even thwarted a shot by his own defenseman Alexander

Edler, who inadvertently poked the puck into the chest of the

Canucks goalie trying to break up a pass.

Vancouver dominated the opening period, outshooting the

Avalanche, 13-1, at one point, but had nothing to show for it as

Budaj turned everything aside.

Ian Laperriere played in his 1,000th NHL game Saturday, becoming

the second Avalanche player to attain that milestone this

season. Adam Foote reached the mark on October 12.

Laperriere made his debut on March 3, 1994 while with the St.

Louis Blues. The gritty forward has played for four teams and

spent the last four seasons with the Avalanche.


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