EditorsNote: fixes typo in seventh graph
Even before the opening faceoff of their 5-2 road loss to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night, the Colorado Avalanche knew their fate.
The Avalanche’s hopes of claiming the first of two Western Conference wild-card playoff berths were dashed when the Dallas Stars defeated the visiting Minnesota Wild 3-0.
The Stars (43-32-7, 93 points) clinched the first wild card and will meet the Nashville Predators in the opening round of the playoffs. The Avalanche (38-30-14, 90 points) will play the Calgary Flames, who finished second in the President’s Trophy race for most points in the regular season behind the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Evander Kane and Gustav Nyquist each had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who won for just the third time in their last 12 games (3-8-1). Brent Burns, Kevin Labanc and Micheal Haley also scored for San Jose, Tomas Hertl notched two assists, and Martin Jones made 28 saves.
The Sharks (46-27-9, 101 points), who finished second in the Pacific Division, will face the third-place Vegas Golden Knights in the first round of the playoffs.
Tyson Jost and Nathan MacKinnon scored for the Avalanche, who had a 10-game points streak (8-0-2) snapped. Semyon Varlamov stopped 25 of 29 shots.
Jost opened the scoring at 2:56 of the first period, but the Sharks tied it at 7:25 of the first as Burns took a pass from Hertl after a faceoff win and fired a shot from the point past Varlamov.
San Jose took the lead as Kane scored at 11:15 of the first, setting up in front of the net and knocking a loose puck into the net for his 30th goal of the season.
The Avalanche tied it at 1:29 of the second as MacKinnon took a pass from Gabriel Landeskog in stride and beat Jones to the glove side from close range.
The Sharks regained the lead on Labanc’s goal at 6:57 of the second. His shot from the high slot deflected off a defenseman’s stick and into the net.
Nyquist scored 5:38 into the third, and Haley added an empty-net goal at 19:15 to cap the scoring.
—Field Level Media