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GAME: Colorado Avalanche (43-29-9) at Edmonton Oilers (40-28-13).
TIME: Monday, 9 p.m. EDT.
Having already survived a Western Conference playoff scramble, the Colorado Avalanche eye the sixth seed when they face the Edmonton Oilers in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The Avalanche, currently seeded seventh and trailing Anaheim by just one point in the conference, can lock up the sixth seed by earning at least a point in this game coupled with a regulation loss by the Mighty Ducks, who host Calgary in their finale Monday.
If Colorado wins and Anaheim notches one point against the Flames, the Avalanche hold the tiebreaker for the sixth seed and would face the Northwest Division champion Flames in the first round.
If the Mighty Ducks beat Calgary, the Avalanche will remain as the seventh seed and open the postseason against Pacific Division-winning Dallas.
The eighth-seeded Oilers will face top-seeded Detroit in the opening round after making the playoffs for the seventh time in nine years.
"(The season finale is) not going to mean anything for Edmonton, so you won't have that huge intense battle," said Avalanche captain Joe Sakic, who had an assist for his team-high 86th point of the season in a 4-3 overtime loss to Vancouver on Saturday. "Everyone is going to want to get out of there healthy and get ready for the playoffs."
Colorado hasn't played like a postseason team of late, losing three of four and garnering just a 6-6-3 mark in its last 15 games following a three-game winning streak from March 7-12, the last time the Avalanche won back-to-back contests.
Goaltender Jose Theodore made 26 saves against the Canucks in his third consecutive start since returning from a broken heel. The 29-year-old former Hart and Vezina trophy winner is 1-1-1 with a 3.04 goals-against average since being acquired from Montreal in March.
"It's more about just getting back in the groove and playing a couple of games and getting back to doing simple things," said Theodore. "I do feel pretty good. The key was playing games before the playoffs and I've been able to."
The Oilers are 3-2-1 in their last six games and coming off a 2-1 victory over the Mighty Ducks on Thursday.
Ethan Moreau scored his 11th goal of the season in the first and Ales Hemsky tallied the game-winner with just 34 seconds remaining in the third.
"We're going to do some damage (in the playoffs)," said Moreau, whose team clinched its postseason berth following the game when the Canucks lost to San Jose.
Goalie Dwayne Roloson made 23 saves to improve to 8-7-4 with a 2.43 GAA with the Oilers since he was traded from Minnesota in March.
STANDINGS: Avalanche - 95 points, 2nd place, 8 PB, Northwest Division. Oilers - 93 points, 3rd place, 10 PB, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Avalanche - Marek Svatos, 32 goals; Sakic, 55 assists and 86 points; Ian Laperriere, 114 PIM. Oilers - Ryan Smyth, 36 goals; Hemsky, 58 assists and 77 points; Jaroslav Spacek, 96 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Avalanche - Power play: 18.9 percent (89 for 471), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.5 percent (375 for 444), 6th. Oilers - Power play: 18.3 percent (88 for 482), 12th. Penalty killing: 84.0 percent (400 for 476), 8th.
GOALTENDERS: Avalanche - Peter Budaj (14-11-6, 2 SO, 2.86 GAA); Theodore (18-16-6, 3.42). Oilers - Roloson (14-24-5, 2, 2.73); Ty Conklin (7-5-1, 1, 2.85).
SEASON SERIES: Avalanche, 4-2-1.
LAST MEETING: March 26; Oilers, 4-3 (SO). At Denver, Sergei Samsonov scored the lone shootout goal and Roloson made 31 saves in regulation for Edmonton. Milan Hejduk had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Avalanche - 18-19-3 on the road; Oilers - 19-15-6 at home.
|Apr 17 '06||COL 2 at EDM 4||J. Stoll|
|Mar 26 '06||EDM 4 at COL 3 - SO||S. Samsonov|
|Feb 07 '06||EDM 2 at COL 5||R. Blake|
|Nov 29 '05||COL 3 at EDM 2||J. Sakic|
|Nov 14 '05||EDM 5 at COL 2||C. Pronger|
|Oct 25 '05||EDM 3 at COL 5||P. Brisebois|
|Oct 21 '05||COL 7 at EDM 1||J. Liles|
|Oct 05 '05||COL 3 at EDM 4||S. Horcoff|