Avs shoot down Stars

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DALLAS – Andrew Brunette scooped a rebound shot over sprawling goaltender Marty Turco 13:55 into overtime to give Colorado a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday, wrapping up the first-round series in five games for the seventh-seeded Avalanche.

Joe Sakic took a shot that bounded off Turco, and Brunette scored despite a desperate sliding attempt by Mike Modano to stop the puck.

It was Colorado’s third overtime victory in the series.

The Stars outshot Colorado 11-4 in the extra period, including seven shots during the frame’s only power play. But Dallas couldn’t solve Jose Theodore, who had 50 saves.

Sakic also had his 81st career playoff goal, the most among active players, as the Avalanche advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the eighth time in 10 postseason trips. Jim Dowd also scored for Colorado.

After the game ended, Marty Turco stood motionless in his net for several minutes. He stopped 27 shots, but lost a series in five games to Colorado for the second straight playoff appearance – the last in 2004.

Sabres 3, Flyers 0

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Rookie goaltender Ryan Miller stopped 24 shots to record his first playoff shutout, and Tim Connolly and J.P. Dumont scored power-play goals and had an assist each in Buffalo’s 3-0.

Maxim Afinogenov also scored, helping the Sabres bounce back from two road losses and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series.

Peter Forsberg, who had four goals and four assists in four games, was held without a point for the first time.

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Hurricanes 2, Habs 1

RALEIGH, N.C. – Cam Ward stopped 30 shots to win his third straight start, Eric Staal and Matt Cullen had power-play goals and the Hurricanes beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 to take a 3-2 advantage in the series.

In each of the first four games, the visiting team came out on top, with three going beyond regulation.

Sharks 2, Predators 1

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Patrick Marleau and Steve Bernier each scored power-play goals, and the Sharks eliminated the Nashville Predators from the playoffs with a 2-1 victory in Game 5.

With Marleau adding to the offensive power of the NHL’s best point producer in Joe Thornton and top goal scorer in Jonathan Cheechoo, the Sharks won their fourth straight game. Now the fifth-seeded Sharks can rest and wait to see who they play next.

The Predators refused to go away easily. Paul Kariya scored his second goal of the series on a power play at 11:06 of the third, pulling Nashville to 2-1. Nashville got another man advantage, hoping to tie the game.

But Vesa Toskala smothered the only power-play shot by Marek Zidlicky with 4:21 left, and the Sharks ran out the clock even as the Predators pulled their goalie in the final minute for the extra attacker.

San Jose had too much for Nashville. With top goalie Tomas Vokoun out with a blood condition, the Predators were outshot 171-137 in the series and matched their longest skid of the season in bowing out.

Marleau’s goal came a minute after officials missed Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren decking Kariya down to the ice, instead calling Nashville left wing Martin Erat for retaliating.

San Jose already led 1-0 after Bernier bumped in a puck shot by Milan Michalek as the clock expired at the end of the first period, forcing officials to a video review. That had the fans booing the officials lustily through most of the power play.

It didn’t matter as Thornton brought the puck up and passed it to Marleau in the crease where he tipped it past Chris Mason’s outstretched skate.

The Predators opened with a flurry and took nine of the first 12 shots. But Toskala stopped each shot, and the Sharks took eight of the last nine shots in the first period.

Scott Hannan started the first goal by getting the puck to Milan Michalek who took it up the left boards and shot from the left circle, and Bernier redirected it past Mason with 0.3 seconds left on the clock. The green light marking the end of the period went off, and officials reviewed the video.

With fans chanting “No goal! No goal!” officials ruled the puck crossed the line before time expired.

Notes: San Jose scratched center Alyn McCauley. He has played most of this season with a leg injury that may need surgery. … Nashville scratched rookie defenseman Shea Weber for the first time in this series, giving veteran center Yanic Perreault his first start with defenseman Marek Zidlicky feeling better. … The Predators reassigned right wing Jordin Tootoo, who played in the first three games of this series, to Milwaukee of the AHL on Sunday. He scored a goal in Milwaukee’s 4-1 Game 7 win over Iowa. … Nashville coach Barry Trotz is 3-8 in the playoffs, while San Jose coach Ron Wilson’s career record is 33-32.

AP-ES-04-30-06 2317EDT

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