Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NHL Extra

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NHL Extra

Article excerpt

The NHL season ended yesterday with Colorado's Milan Hejduk scoring his league-best 50th goal and teammate Peter Forsberg using a three-point rally to capture the Art Ross Trophy as top scorer.

It added up to a Northwest Division title for the Avalanche, who won 25 of their last 37 games and captured their NHL-record ninth consecutive division title. That snapped a tie with the Montreal Canadiens, who won eight in a row from 1975-82.

The long careers of Mario Lemieux and Mark Messier also might have ended.

Lemieux, who had 28 goals and 91 points, has made no decision. Messier, 42, said he hasn't decided whether to return for a 25th NHL season as the New York Rangers cleaned out their lockers following a team-record sixth consecutive season out of the playoffs.

The postseason begins Wednesday.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Senators vs. No. 8 Islanders

Season series: Senators won 2-1-1.

Series notes: Ottawa clinched the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs with 113 points during the regular season. The team that has clinched the overall points mark has won three of the last four Stanley Cups.

No. 2 Devils vs. No. 7 Bruins

Season series: Devils won 2-1-1.

Series notes: All four games between New Jersey and Boston were decided by one goal or less. Bruins forward Sergui Samsonov, who missed 50 games with a wrist injury, returned for the regular-season finale and tallied a goal and an assist. The '97-98 rookie of the year arrives just in time for the Bruins.

No. 3 Lightning vs. No. 6 Capitals

Season series: Capitals won 3-2.

Series notes: Washington coach Bruce Cassidy, who coached the Jacksonville Lizards Kings in the East Coast Hockey League, brings the Capitals to the playoffs in his first season behind an NHL bench. The Lightning won the Southeast Division by just one point, their first title in 11 years.

No. 4 Flyers vs. No. 5 Maple Leafs

Season series: Tied 2-2-0. …

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