Jose Theodore and the Colorado Avalanche withstood another onslaught from the relentless Minnesota Wild for a series-clinching 2-1 win last night.
Theodore stopped 34 shots, including a glove save off Kim Johnsson's shot with 21 seconds left, and the Avalanche took the Western Conference series in six games.
The Wild held a lead in the series for only 4 minutes 31 seconds of a possible 384:23, and not a single second on this night. Minnesota, playing with an extra attacker over the final minute, never managed a shot before the horn sounded.
Ben Guite and Ryan Smyth scored for Colorado, which heads into the second round riding a three-game winning streak and a hot goaltender.
The Wild lost their cool in Game 4, when they were whistled for 111 penalty minutes in Denver, and they never recovered, losing the next two despite regaining their discipline and peppering Theodore with plenty of pucks.
Smyth's one-timer from the left circle off a behind-the-net pass from David Jones broke a 1-1 tie in the second and energized the Avalanche and the crowd.
Before that goal, the action was mostly in the Avalanche zone as the Wild outshot Colorado, 15-8, in the period and erased a 1-0 deficit with a goal just 36 seconds in.
In the third, Peter Forsberg had a terrific backhander, but it hit the post with about 8:20 remaining, and the final minutes were a frenzy as the Wild scrambled to catch up.
After getting 42 goals and 41 assists in a career-best regular season, Wild forward Marian Gaborik was still looking for his first point of the postseason when he assisted on Aaron Voros's tying goal. Pavol Demitra ignited a three-on-two break and passed to Gaborik, who fed Voros for a goal past Theodore's glove side for a 1-1 tie.
For the sixth straight game, the Avalanche struck first, this time on a shorthanded wrister by Guite, who took a perfect pass from Joe Sakic after the Avalanche captain stole the pass at the Colorado blue line and fed to Guite for his 100th career playoff assist.
Capitals 3, Flyers 2 - Washington jumped to an early lead with just the right mix of brawn and skill, and visiting Philadelphia waited too long to respond as the Capitals extended the Eastern Conference series to a sixth game.
Nicklas Backstrom, Sergei Fedorov, and Alexander Semin scored the Capitals' goals - one in each period - Cristobal Huet made 30 saves, and league MVP candidate Alex Ovechkin helped make up for another frustrating offensive effort by depositing Jim Dowd headfirst into the Flyers' bench with a hip check.
Vaclav Prospal scored for the Flyers in the second, and Derian Hatcher made things interesting when he scored with 4:43 remaining - less than a minute after Semin's power-play goal had given the Capitals a 3-1 lead.
"They really came at us hard," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "To me, that's a lesson we learned that won't happen again."
The Flyers will have to make do for the rest of the series without right wing Mike Knuble, who sustained a partial tear of his left hamstring when he stumbled to the ice in a moment of indecision over whether to try to block a shot. Knuble had two goals and three assists during the series, including the winning score in double overtime of Game 4.
"I just kind of caught my heel and went down awkwardly," Knuble said.