Theodore stopped 11 shots in overtime before Andrew Brunette scooped a rebound over sprawling goaltender Marty Turco to give Colorado a 3-2 victory over the host Dallas Stars - and wrap up the first-round series in five games for the seventh-seeded Avalanche.
"He's the reason we're standing here with smiles on our face, really. He was unbelievable today," said Colorado captain Joe Sakic, who scored his 81st career playoff goal and had the shot that led to the winner. "I mean, they could've ended it so many times - not only in overtime, but in the third. He kept us in and gave us a chance."
The Stars outshot Colorado 11-4 in the extra period, including seven shots during the period's only power play. But Dallas couldn't solve Theodore.
Two days after the Stars avoided a sweep with a 4-1 victory, Theodore stopped 50 shots to end the series.
"I told [everyone], Theo's going to come back with a huge game. And he did," said Jim Dowd, who added a goal for the Avs. "He basically stole that game for us, especially in the overtime."
Sabres 3, Flyers 0 -- Rookie goaltender Ryan Miller shook off his doubters, and host Buffalo regained the edge in its first-round playoff series against Philadelphia. Miller stopped 24 shots to record his first playoff shutout, and Tim Connolly and J.P. Dumont scored power-play goals and had an assist each. Maxim Afinogenov also scored, helping the Sabres bounce back from two road losses and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series. Game 6 is tomorrow at Philadelphia in a series in which the home team has won every game. The Flyers looked nothing like the confident group that rallied from a 2-0 series deficit. Peter Forsberg, who had four goals and four assists in four games, was held without a point for the first time. He and linemates Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble were blanked on a combined seven shots on net.
Hurricanes 2, Canadiens 1 -- Carolina won more games at home during the regular season than any other team in the Eastern Conference. They finally regained that edge, thanks to another outstanding effort from rookie goalie Cam Ward. The 22-year-old former backup stopped 30 shots to win his third straight start, Eric Staal and Matt Cullen had power-play goals and the Hurricanes beat visiting Montreal to take a 3-2 advantage in the series. In each of the first four games, the visiting team came out on top, with three going beyond regulation. Carolina became the first host to take a two-goal lead before the Canadiens rallied, and now the teams head back to Montreal for Game 6.
Sharks 2, Predators 1 -- Patrick Marleau and Steve Bernier each scored power-play goals, and San Jose eliminated host Nashville from the playoffs with a victory in Game 5. The Predators had been hoping to tap what had been the NHL's best home-ice advantage in the regular season to force Game 6 tonight in San Jose. But Nashville couldn't sell out the arena, and its best wasn't enough on a night when Marleau - San Jose's captain - scored his postseason-best seventh goal. With Marleau adding to the offensive power of the NHL's best point producer in Joe Thornton and top goal scorer in Jonathan Cheechoo, the Sharks won their fourth straight game. Now fifth-seeded San Jose can rest and wait to see who it plays next.