- Associated Press - Friday, March 28, 2014

DENVER (AP) - Moments after deflecting in the winning goal, Colorado’s Tyson Barrie did a little dance.

Not bad for a defenseman. The goal, that is. Although the shuffling dance steps weren’t bad, either.

Barrie scored 55 seconds into overtime, Semyon Varlamov stopped 29 shots, and the Avalanche moved a step closer to their first playoff berth in four years with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

“That was a heck of a goal,” Avalanche forward Matt Duchene said.

The pass was pretty good, too.

Duchene dribbled the puck into the corner and sent a sharp pass at Barrie, who was standing in front of the net and tipped it past goalie Eddie Lack.

“I was fortunate,” Barrie said.

With that, the Avs are on the verge of sewing up their first postseason appearance since the 2009-10 season. There was a scenario in which Colorado could have wrapped up a spot on Thursday, but Phoenix prevented that by beating the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in a road shootout.

Colorado also remains on the heels of the Chicago Blackhawks for second in the Central Division. The Avs trail the Blackhawks by one point.

“We want to finish as high as possible,” said Duchene, who also scored a goal. “We aren’t giving anybody a break coming in.”

The game had a playoff feel with all the fights, thrown shoulders and scuffles in the corner.

With good reason: The Canucks are trying to scratch and claw to remain in the postseason picture.

Struggling just a few weeks ago, the Canucks earned a valuable point and are now five points behind Phoenix, which holds the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. But time is quickly running out for the Canucks, who have seven games remaining.

“We’re right there. We’re still in it,” said Canucks coach John Tortorella, whose team had its three-game winning streak snapped. “We’re fine. We’re fine in our room. We’re going to keep on playing.

“No bad news from me here.”

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