Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo looks at the puck after it sailed past him on a shot from Colorado Avalanche Brett McLean during a shootout. (CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)
Colorado (39-29-7) moved within five points of the Calgary Flames for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, while Vancouver (45-23-7) was denied an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth. McLean's shootout goal gave him an unofficial hat-trick after he scored twice in regulation time. Joe Sakic also scored two goals for Colorado, which outshot the Canucks 30-20.
Taylor Pyatt led Vancouver with two goals while Daniel Sedin and Jeff Cowan also tallied before the 165th consecutive sellout crowd of 18,630 at General Motors Place.
Henrik Sedin recorded three assists, surpassing Vancouver's single-season record of 62 set by Andre Boudrias 32 in 1974-75. The playmaking Sedin now has 63 helpers on the season.
Colorado converted one of five power-play opportunities while the Canucks went 1-for-3.
Pyatt gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 9:19 as he put in Henrik Sedin's pass from the wing. But 37-year-old Sakic, a native of the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, forged a 1-1 tie about three minutes later as he fired home Andrew Brunette's pass from behind the net.
Daniel Sedin put Vancouver ahead 2-1 during a power play at 16:32 when his wraparound attempt went in off the stick of Colorado centre Brad Richardson.
Cowan gave Vancouver a 3-1 lead as he lifted Matt Cooke's pass from behind the net over Colorado starting goalie Peter Budaj, who was promptly pulled - after allowing three goals on 13 shots - in favour of Jose Theodore.
McLean reduced Colorado's deficit to 3-2 at 18:03 after he intercepted Vancouver defenceman Rory Fitzpatrick's clearing attempt and quickly fired it past Canuck netminder Roberto Luongo.
Pyatt's second goal of the game sent the Canucks ahead 4-2 at 12:22 of the middle period. But McLean pulled the Avs to within 4-3 as he came out of the penalty box, taking a long lead pass from Ken Klee, and scoring his second of the night on a breakaway at 18:11.
Sakic created a 4-4 tie with his second goal of the game, at 10:37 of the third.
The goal makes Sakic only the fifth player in NHL history to record 90 points in a season at age 37 or older. (The others are Gordie Howe, Johnny Bucyk, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky.)
At the same time, Sakic tied former teammate Ray Bourque for ninth place on the NHL's all-time points list and grabbed a share of 15th place in career goals with Dino Ciccarelli (608.)
Colorado outshot Vancouver 12-2 in the second period and 8-2 in the third.
NOTES: - Colorado bench boss Joel Quenneville coached in his 750th career game. He is only among seven current coaches at that level. Taking his 13 seasons as a defenceman into account, he now has 1,503 NHL games to his credit. He accumulated 803 games during his playing days with Toronto, Colorado, New Jersey, Hartford and Washington . . . Canucks defenceman Willie Mitchell returned to the lineup after missing five games with a groin injury . . . Vancouver defenceman Mattias Ohlund sat out with an elbow injury. It was the first game Ohlund has missed this season. He's expected to be out a few more games as a contusion heals.