DENVER — Patrick Sharp scored his 16th goal of the season but Jarome Iginla scored two power-play goals, including the winner, as the Colorado Avalanche beat the Blackhawks, 3-2.

With the score tied 2-2, Marcus Kruger was whistled for tripping with 2:01 remaining in regulation and Iginla scored with 32.9 seconds remaining to win it.

The Blackhawks finished the regular season with four consecutive losses, although this one didn’t mean much in the final standings. The Blackhawks’ first-round playoff fate was set well before this one began. St. Louis beating Minnesota assured the Blackhawks finished third in the Central. The Blackhawks will face the Nashville Predators in the first round; dates and times will be announced later.

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With little riding on this one, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith were healthy scratches for the Blackhawks. Scott Darling, who started to give Corey Crawford a rest heading into the postseason, stopped 21 of 24 shots. Defenseman Michael Paliotta earned his first NHL point in his first NHL game, collecting the secondary assist on Sharp’s goal.

The Avs struck first, as Tyson Barrie’s shot went off Cody McLeod’s stick or skate — he didn’t realize that he had scored — for a 1-0 lead at 10:03 of the first period. It stayed that way until the second period, when Bryan Bickell dropped a pass to Sharp, who fired high on Varlamov to tie it.


Iginla’s 28th goal gave Colorado a 2-1 lead late in the second period. But with 4:40 remaining in the third period Brandon Saad, off a feed from Marian Hossa, barreled in to score his 23rd goal of the season to tie it 2-2.