Avalanche 2, Blues 1, OT
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DENVER (AP) _ Joe Sakic sent Colorado to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in six seasons when he scored on a rebound 24 seconds into overtime to give the Avalanche a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.
The goal came while Blues defenseman Alexander Khavanov served a four-minute penalty for high-sticking, called with 2:16 left in regulation.
Colorado, which won the Stanley Cup in 1996, made it out of the Western Conference finals for the first time in three seasons. The Avalanched lost Game 7 of the finals to the Dallas Stars in 1999 and 2000 but finished St. Louis off in five games.
After failing to get a shot during the power play late in regulation, the Avalanche wasted no time against rookie goalie Brent Johnson in overtime.
Sakic crashed the net on Rob Blake’s shot from the right circle and backhanded the puck past Johnson, a final-hour replacement for struggling goalie Roman Turek. Johnson, making his first career playoff start, finished with 33 saves.
The Avalanche, the NHL’s top team during the regular season, will play defending champion New Jersey or Pittsburgh in the finals. New Jersey leads its series 3-1 with Game 5 set for Tuesday night.