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-finals and final. Also See

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VANCOUVER -- Mistakes have cost the Vancouver Canucks time and time again during this lost season. With newly minted president of hockey operations Trevor Linden looking on from above one day after being handed the keys to the franchise, it was more of the same on Thursday night. The Canucks directed 40 shots on goal and played well for long stretches, but turnovers at key moments were the difference as the Colorado Avalanche downed Vancouver 4-2. "I think it was there. Again, I think its like a lot of other games when we lose," said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin, who opened the scoring in the first period. "Shooting enough pucks to the net, enough chances to win but were making crucial mistakes in the wrong areas of the ice. Thats been something thats been happening all year." Vancouvers captain for seven of his 19 seasons in NHL, Linden was hired on Wednesday to replace president and general manager Mike Gillis, who was fired after the Canucks were officially eliminated from post-season contention for the first time in six years following a dismal 3-0 home loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday. What Linden saw Thursday was a team that produced a solid effort in a meaningless outing, but also one that is still finding its way in first-year head coach John Tortorellas system with only two games left in the regular season. "Thats great to get 40 shots, but as a group we were too lax defensively," said Canucks forward Ryan Kesler. "Playing defence is most of the time a thankless job and its hard work." Tyson Barrie buried the winner for Colorado with the score tied 2-2 and the teams playing 4-on-4 in the third period. The 22-year-old defenceman from Victoria moved in on a 2-on-1 rush, toe-dragged around a sprawling Alexander Edler and rifled his 13th of the season, and fifth game winner, past a helpless Jacob Markstrom. "We hung Markstrom out to dry," said Kesler. "He played good for us tonight and a couple of those goals we hung him out to dry and he had no chance." Tortorella said he was happy with his teams effort in a difficult spot, but lamented the lack of finish that has been commonplace during his time behind the Canucks bench. "We played well, we played hard. It takes us a lot of scoring chances to score a goal," said Tortorella. "That has been a reoccurring theme throughout the year, but I have no beef with our team as far as how hard they played. We generated some good scoring chances in the third period, they did too ... we need a lot of chances to score." Paul Stastny added two goals and Semyon Varlamov stopped 38 shots for Colorado (52-21-7), which is 8-0-1 in its last nine games and took over top spot in the Central Division ahead of the scuffling St. Louis Blues. John Mitchell scored into an empty net for Colorado in the final minute. The Blues, who have lost four straight, and Avalanche each have 111 points with two games left on the schedule, but Colorado holds the tiebreaker. After Barrie gave the Avalanche their 3-2 edge, Edler had a chance to tie the game with just over five minutes to go, but Varlamov made a great glove save on the Canucks defenceman. "Those are big points for us," said Barrie. "We have two games left and we know whats on the line. Varly was outstanding like he has been all year and these next two games are big." David Booth had the other goal for Vancouver (35-34-11), which got 24 saves from Markstrom in his first start for the Canucks. Dan Hamhuis added two assists. Markstrom was acquired as part of the Roberto Luongo trade with the Florida Panthers last month, but got into just one game in relief before Thursday as Eddie Lack started 19 straight in the Canucks failed attempt to make the playoffs. "No good enough," said Markstrom. "It felt good to be out there and everything felt good, but obviously you want to start with a win." Following a scoreless middle period, Stastny snapped a 1-1 tie with his second of the night and 25th of the season at 5:21 of the third, firing home a rebound off Eric Johnsons shot from the faceoff circle. Booth tied the game 1:39 later with his ninth of the campaign, roofing Hamhuis rebound off the end boards over Varlamovs shoulder from in tight. The Avalanche tied a franchise record with 52 wins and Varlamov broke rookie head coach Patrick Roys mark of 40 wins in a season by a Colorado goaltender after collecting his 41st of the campaign. "The coach is very happy," Roy deadpanned. "Were going to call Patrick tomorrow to let him know that Varly beat the record and I am sure he is going to be OK with it." Linden, who was shown on the video board before Thursdays opening faceoff and received a nice applause, didnt have to look far to see the kind of success former players can have in management. Avalanche executive vice-president of hockey operations Joe Sakic has his team in a battle for top spot in the Central Division, while Roy is in the running for the Jack Adams Trophy for a Colorado team that finished 29th last season. But Lindens mountain might be even tougher to the climb. The Avalanche have a tremendous young core, led by Barrie, captain Gabriel Landeskog and last years No. 1 pick Nathan MacKinnon -- something the Canucks are sorely lacking. It should be noted that the Edmonton Oilers have also tried the former-players-in-management route and have failed to make the playoffs every year since 2006. Vancouver opened the scoring on Thursday when Sedin tipped home his 11th of the season off a point shot from Hamhuis at 13:52 of the first period. Tortorella said earlier this week that his young players would get a chance to play with three meaningless games left on the schedule, and a play by Vancouver rookie Niklas Jensen directly led to Colorados tying goal with 1:21 to go in the period. Stastny stripped Jensen of the puck at the Avalanche blue-line and he raced in alone, snapping his 24th through Markstroms five-hole. "I thought our guys handled themselves very well tonight. I thought they played hard right on through," said Tortorella. "Its hard. These guys want to play for something. They know in a couple days were done. "Its a difficult situation but its no excuse no matter where were at not to finish the season the proper way and were going to keep on trying to that for the next couple of games here." Notes: Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa said after the game that he will represent Canada at the world championships. ... The Canucks will honour former head coach and general manager Pat Quinn before Sundays season finale against the Calgary Flames. ... Canucks defenceman Jason Garrison was a healthy scratch as Vancouver chose to dress rookie Frank Corrado. ... Avalanche forward Matt Duchene remains out with a knee injury. ... Vancouvers next game is Saturday night in Edmonton against the Oilers. ... Colorado also has two games left on its schedule, both on the road, Friday against the San Jose Sharks and Sunday against Anaheim Ducks. Isaac Yiadom Broncos Jersey .Simon will work with head coach Gord Dineen and associate coach Derek King behind the bench of the Toronto Maple Leafs American Hockey League affiliate for the 2014-15 season. Tramaine Brock Jersey . -- The Detroit Lions made it crystal clear to Golden Tate that he was their top target in free agency. ... ll-Jersey/. Old times for a defence that has looked just plain old recently? "No," safety Ryan Clark said. "We used to be much better than that. Sua Cravens Jersey . -- Max Gilbert captured his first pro victory at the Tour Championship of Canada. Bradley Chubb Broncos Jersey .com) - Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns each scored 12 points in the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats 70-55 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide.Home favourites Rowby-John Rodriguez and Zoran Lerchbacher began their Austrian Open campaign with first round wins in Vienna on Friday. Former World Youth Championship finalist Rodriguez made light work of European Tour debutant Steve McNally in a 6-1 thumping to set up a second round clash against World Championship quarter-finalist Alan Norris.After taking the opening leg, Rodriguez showed his intent with a 97 checkout in the second for a break and never looked back racing into 4-0 lead before McNally finally got on the board but Rodriguez took the next two legs to seal his place in the second round. Saturdays Second Round - Best of 11 legs Alan Norris v Rowby John Rodriguez Stephen Bunting v James Richardson Terry Jenkins v Dimitri Van den Bergh Robert Thornton v Nigel Heydon Ian White v Simon Stevenson Simon Whitlock v Ron Meulenkamp Gerwyn Price v Steve Beaton Kim Huybrechts v Chris Dobey Dave Chisnall v Jamie Cavan Jelle Klaasen v Zoran Lerchbacher Peter Wright v Zoran Lerchbbacher Michael van Gerwen v Jonny Clayton Phil Taylor v Steve West Mensur Suljovic v Kyle Anderson Benito van de Pas v Josh Payne Michael Smith v Mark Frost It wasnt quite as straightforward for another host nation qualifier as Lerchbacher overcame Jeffrey de Zwaan in a narrow 6-4 victory to the delight of the home crowd.ddddddddddddHowever, there was disappointment for Austrias Roxy-James Rodriguez - the elder brother of Rowby-John - as he lost 6-4 to Nigel Heydon, whilst 18-year-old debutant Nico Mandl was comfortably seen off 6-1 by Jonny Clayton who next meets Michael van Gerwen.Steve West produced the performance of the day as he fired six maximums and a 101 average to beat Mervyn King 6-3, and will now face Phil Taylor who makes his return to European Tour action for the first time in two years.There were also strong performances from Steve Beaton and Jamie Caven, who knocked out former Austrian Darts Open winners Vincent van der Voort and Justin Pipe respectively, while left-hander Ron Meulenkamp overcame fellow Dutchman Jeffrey de Graaf 6-3.Elsewhere, there was a dream debut for Simon Stevenson as he came through a tough battle with James Wilson 6-5 to reach the second round.Chris Dobey continued his strong form on the European Tour as he eased past Darron Brown, and James Richardson produced some scintillating darts in a 6-2 victory over former Lakeside champion Christian Kist.Another man in top form is Josh Payne and he showed no signs of letting up with an impressive 6-3 victory over Wes Newton.Mark Frost displayed some masterful finishing as he hit six out of six on the doubles to beat Mike Zuydwijk, whilst Australias Kyle Anderson edged out Ross Smith 6-4 in a ferocious battle.Belgian Dimitri Van Den Bergh also progressed to the second round with a 6-1 victory over Wayne Jones and Jermaine Wattimena saw off Brendan Dolan 6-3 to set up a clash with Peter Wright.Saturday will see the second round take place over an afternoon and evening session before Sundays last eight meetings as well as the semi-finals and final. 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