DENVER (AP) — Jarome Iginla’s second power-play goal with 32.9 seconds left lifted the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 victory over the slumping Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.
Semyon Varlamov had 28 saves and Cody McLeod also scored for Colorado, which won four of its last five despite being eliminated from the postseason a week ago.
The Blackhawks rested captain Jonathan Toews and defenseman Duncan Keith after learning they were locked into the No. 3 seed in the Central Division. Minnesota’s loss to St. Louis earlier Saturday clinched a first-round matchup with Nashville.
Chicago managed just five goals while losing its last four games of the regular season. But it went 3-1 against the Predators this season, with two of those wins coming after regulation.
Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp scored for the Blackhawks, and backup goalie Scott Darling stopped 21 shots.
Chicago also played without center Brad Richards and defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who were sidelined by upper-body injuries. Both are expected back for Game 1 of the playoffs at Nashville.
Starting goaltender Corey Crawford also got the night off.
Despite not having their full lineup, the Blackhawks outshot the Avalanche 30-24.
It looked as if the game was headed for overtime when Saad scored at 15:20 of the third period. But Marcus Kruger was sent off for tripping at 17:59 and Iginla’s slap shot beat Darling for his 29th goal.
McLeod beat Darling midway through the first period to give Colorado a 1-0 lead. Sharp tied it at 8:03 of the second period with his 16th of the season.
With Bryan Bickell off for hooking, Iginla gave the Avalanche the lead again. His slap shot from the top of the left circle beat Darling at 14:22 of the second.
NOTES: Iginla has scored 28 or more goals in 14 seasons. He has 589 career goals. … Avalanche D Duncan Siemens made his NHL debut. He was recalled from Lake Erie after D Brad Stuart was ruled out with a leg injury suffered in Thursday’s win over Winnipeg. … The Blackhawks set a franchise record for road wins with 24. … McLeod’s goal was his first since March 8. … Blackhawks D Michael Paliotta played 12:45 in his NHL debut and got an assist on Sharp’s goal.
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