DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Avalanche won the Central Division Friday night with a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators in the final game of the regular season.
Devon Toews scored 30 seconds into the game and Nathan MacKinnon scored a hat trick to win home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
“Obviously, I had some good looks tonight and managed to find the back of the net,” MacKinnon said.
Alexandar Georgiev made 18 saves for Colorado, which finished a point ahead of Dallas in the division. Mikko Rantanen had two assists.
“These guys have put their heart and soul into this season, this regular season,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “Getting stronger and stronger as the year has gone on against whatever adversity we have faced. We’ve had different guys step up at different times and our leaders have been outstanding.”
Kiefer Sherwood scored twice, Luke Evangelista added one and Kevin Lankinen made 30 saves for the Predators.
“That’s kind of the summary of the season,” Sherwood said. “Things don’t always go to plan, but we buckled down and came out and responded well and gave ourselves a chance to win at the end. They’re obviously Stanley Cup champions for a reason and it just shows the character of our group to fight till the end. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win.”
Nashville was eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday night when Winnipeg clinched the Western Conference’s final playoff berth with a victory over Minnesota. The Predators had qualified for the playoffs the last eight seasons, tied with Washington for the second-longest active streaks, trailing just Pittsburgh’s 16. All three teams failed to qualify for this season’s playoffs.
Friday’s game was a makeup from an originally scheduled game on Nov. 26 that was rescheduled due to a water main break at Bridgestone Arena.
The Avalanche finished the season with 109 points and will face the Seattle Kraken in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with the first game on Tuesday night at Ball Arena.
The first-round schedule is:
Tuesday, April 18 – 8 p.m., Seattle at Colorado, ESPN, SN360, TVAS
Thursday, April 20 – 7:30 p.m., Seattle at Colorado, ESPN, SN360, FX, TVAS
Saturday, April 22 – 8 p.m., Colorado at Seattle, TBS, SN360, TVAS
Monday, April 24 – 8 p.m., Colorado at Seattle, TBS, SN360, TVAS
*Wednesday, April 26 – TBD, Seattle at Colorado, TBD
*Friday, April 28 – TBD, Colorado at Seattle, TBD
*Sunday, April 30 – TBD, Seattle at Colorado, TBD
The Associated Press contributed to this article.