VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker) -- Trying to complete their comeback from a three games to one deficit, the Vancouver Canucks turned to someone who'd done it twice.
Trevor Linden scored his first goal of the series and set up another as the Canucks pulled away for a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues in the decisive seventh game of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Brendan Morrison also had a goal and an assist for Vancouver, which hosts the Minnesota Wild on Friday in Game One of the conference finals.
Before he was re-acquired from Washington in November 2002, Linden captained the Canucks from 1991-97. During his tenure, Vancouver erased three games to one deficits against Winnipeg in the 1992 Smythe Division semifinals and against Calgary in the 1994 conference quarterfinals.
Participating in his sixth Game Seven, Linden set up Morrison's go-ahead goal at 7:20 of the second period and capped the scoring off a shorthanded 2-on-1 just 28 seconds into the third. Among active players, only Doug Gilmour and Mark Messier have more points in seventh games than Linden (10).
"This team has had three defining moments in the last three games," Linden said. "This team has made the playoffs the last couple years and learned some tough lessons. The guys have finished learning lessons and proved tonight they were ready to move on."
"He symbolizes what people view fondly as a Vancouver Canuck," coach Marc Crawford added. "He's helped in the growth of a lot of players. When you have that experience, it comes in handy. Tonight, he was terrific."
Martin Rucinsky scored the lone goal for St. Louis, which squandered a three games to one lead for the first time in its history.
"Once you get life, you inch back into the series, and that's what they did," said Blues center Doug Weight, who led all first-round scorers with 13 points. "They played like a veteran team, they did the things they had to do and scored the big goals when they had to."
St. Louis played most of the final six games without Al MacInnis, a Norris Trophy candidate who injured his right shoulder early in Game Two. He returned for the finale but played just under 15 minutes.
"It's frustrating watching the last couple of games and I really felt that I could contribute," he said. "I'm certainly not going to second-guess myself. I didn't want to be in the press box, thinking otherwise."
Game Seven started much like the series opener, with St. Louis grabbing a quick lead. Just a minute into the opening period, Weight backhanded a pass from behind the net to Rucinsky, who beat goaltender Dan Cloutier from along the goal line on the right side.
"We had the start we hoped for," Blues coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought their first goal was instrumental and they got a lot of momentum from it."
Henrik Sedin tied it at 11:54. Twin brother Daniel intercepted MacInnis' pass behind the net and made a behind-the-back pass to the bottom of the left faceoff circle, where Henrik wristed a shot past goalie Chris Osgood's stick side.
Morrison put the Canucks in front in the second period. Linden carried into the St. Louis zone on a 3-on-2 and took a wrist shot from the top of the slot. Osgood made a blocker save, but Morrison broke down the right side and flipped in the rebound.
Markus Naslund padded the lead just over five minutes later with his fourth goal of the series. On the power play, he got a screen from defenseman Ed Jovanovski and beat Osgood with a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle that appeared to hit St. Louis defenseman Chris Pronger.
Linden made it 4-1 in the opening minute of the third period. Using Artem Chubarov as a decoy, he moved down the right side and wristed a shot from the inner edge of the faceoff circle over a sliding Pronger and past Osgood's glove.
Vancouver was 1-for-5 on the power play, scored a shorthanded goal and killed all four penalties.
"If it's something you start living and dying by, other things suffer," Pronger said of the Blues' power play, which scored 10 goals in the first six games. "Five-on-5, we dominated the first three or four games. The last three games, we weren't doing so hot and it reflected on the scoreboard."