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Anaheim at Colorado

Ducks keep slim playoff hopes alive; Blake has one goal, sets up four

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

DENVER -- Closing the deal on the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot is becoming quite a struggle for the Colorado Avalanche.

They ran into another setback Wednesday night, victimized by an Anaheim Ducks team trying to keep its own slim playoff hopes alive.

Western Conference
SeedTeamGPPTSROW
1p-Chicago487730
2y-Anaheim486624
3y-Vancouver485921
4x-St. Louis486024
5x-Los Angeles485925
6x-San Jose485717
7x-Detroit485622
8x-Minnesota485522
Eliminated
9o-Columbus485519
10o-Phoenix485117
11o-Dallas484820
12o-Edmonton484517
13o-Calgary484219
14o-Nashville484114
15o-Colorado483914
Complete Playoff Race

Jason Blake had a goal and four assists to match his career high with five points, and Saku Koivu added a goal and three assists in Anaheim's 5-2 victory against Colorado. The victory moved the Ducks within seven points of the Avalanche.

"Obviously, that was a huge game for them, but at the same time, it was a game that for us, by winning, we still have a chance," Koivu said. "There's still a couple teams between us and them, so it's going to be a battle to the end and we just have to keep pushing it and see what happens."

Colorado's hold on the West's final playoff berth grew more precarious after the Avalanche lost for the sixth time in seven games, including the past three.

The Calgary Flames are the Avalanche's closest pursuer, pulling within two points after beating Phoenix 2-1 later Wednesday night. Colorado will play host to the Flames on Friday night in a game pivotal to both clubs.

"Everyone's got to take a deep breath and remember what we did to get here," Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said. "We just have to regroup. The last few games we've been forcing plays too early and getting off our game. Seems like the plays we force end up in our net."

Colorado goalie Craig Anderson said the Avalanche certainly is capable of a quick turnaround.

"We're still leading the race, that's the bottom line," he said. "Destiny is in our own hands. We control our own fate. We win Friday, we're looking pretty good."

Not so good on Wednesday, though and Colorado's struggles coincide with a surge by Anaheim. The Ducks have won seven of nine, including their past three victories with Curtis McElhinney in goal in place of ailing starter Jonas Hiller (back spasms). McElhinney made 27 saves.

"The good thing for us is we're not even worried about who we're playing right now," Blake said. "We're just worried about ourselves. If we keep playing the way we're playing, and the goal tending has been great, it's giving us a chance every night."

For a moment, it appeared Colorado struck first but officials ruled Cody McLeod's shot into the net 6:13 into the game was a no-goal because he struck the puck with a high stick. The call was confirmed by video replay.

"Obviously, that was a big break for us and it took a little momentum from their side," Koivu said of the disallowed goal.

The offensive frustrations mushroomed from there for Colorado. Midway through the second period, Matt Duchene's stick broke as he took a shot in the open from up close, resulting in missed scoring chance. Early in the third, Milan Hejduk, who had scored Colorado's first goal, missed a shot wide with an open net.

Anaheim moved in front 1-0 on Steve Eminger's third goal of the season. Koivu dug the puck out from behind the behind the net and got it out to the point, where Eminger unleashed a slap shot to beat Anderson.

The Ducks made it 2-0 by capitalizing on a Colorado turnover at the blue line. Blake picked up the loose puck and drove down the ice before passing to the streaking Koivu. He knocked the puck into the net for his 16th of the season with four seconds remaining in the first period.

Colorado closed within a goal on Hejduk's power play score at 13:22 of the second but Anaheim rebuilt its cushion when Scott Niedermayer put in his 10th of the year with 30 seconds left in the period, driving the puck past Anderson with a side shot from the lower left circle.

Anaheim's Teemu Selanne finished an odd-man rush early in the third period with his 22nd goal of the season.

Darcy Tucker had Colorado's other goal at 13:26 of the third.

Notes

  • Selanne, who scored his 600th career goal in a March 21 victory against Colorado, tied Jari Kuri (601) for 17th on the career list. "Six hundred was bigger for me, but 601 is huge, too, because Jari was my idol. I feel very honored," Selanne said.
  • Hejduk has eight goals in 12 games since returning from knee and back injuries.
  • Anaheim is 7-1 against Colorado since Nov. 24, 2008.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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After getting assists on the first four Anaheim goals, Jason Blake caps the scoring with his 15th goal. (AP)
After getting assists on the first four Anaheim goals, Jason Blake caps the scoring with his 15th goal. (AP)
Scoreboard
Anaheim  (37-31-8) «2125
Colorado (41-28-7)0112
Three Stars
J. Blake
ANA


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 4
S. Koivu
ANA


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 3
T. Selanne
ANA


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

Related Video

Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
15:40Steve Eminger (3), Slap Shot. Assist: Koivu, Blake
19:56Saku Koivu (16), Backhand Shot. Assist: Blake
2ND PERIOD
13:22Power Play - Milan Hejduk (23), Wrist Shot. Assist: Stastny, Duchene
19:30Scott Niedermayer (10), Snap Shot. Assist: Koivu, Blake
3RD PERIOD
02:34Teemu Selanne (22), Wrist Shot. Assist: Blake, Koivu
12:02Jason Blake (15), Wrist Shot. Assist: Selanne, Eminger
13:26Darcy Tucker (8), Slap Shot. Assist: O'Reilly, McLeod
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
02:28McLeod, 5 min, Fighting
02:28Brown, 5 min, Fighting
03:31Bonino, 2 min, Hooking
10:18Wilson, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
12:57Brookbank, 2 min, Holding
13:58Mikkelson, 2 min, Tripping
3RD PERIOD
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
Anaheim127827
Colorado7111129
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Curtis McElhinney60:00272
Craig Anderson60:00225
Game Information
Attendance - 13862
Referees - Stephen Walkom, Ian Walsh
Linesmen - Lonnie Cameron, Darren Gibbs
 
Other Games
Car 2 Final
Mon 1
TB 2 Final
Pitt 0
Fla 2 Final
Buf 6
SJ 1 Final
Dal 5
Pho 1 Final
Cal 2
Chi 4 Final
Min 0