Canucks 4, Blues 3

ST. LOUIS (AP)—The first-round playoff series between the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks has quickly gone from lopsided to a toss-up.

Markus Naslund had a goal and two assists as the Canucks staved off elimination for the second straight game, beating the Blues 4-3 Sunday night to force a decisive Game 7 in the first-round playoff series.

“We made it pretty hard on ourselves in the third period,” Canucks center Trevor Linden said. “But all in all we did what we wanted to do and what we wanted to have, and that’s an opportunity for a Game 7.”

Whoever wins Tuesday’s game in Vancouver will play the winner of the series between Colorado and Minnesota.

“We’re a confident team, we are,” said Blues center Doug Weight, who had two goals and an assist. “We believe we’re the better team right now and we’ve got to go prove it.”

Mattias Ohlund had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who scored twice in each of the first two periods. Vancouver had two power-play goals in the second period as the Blues repeatedly hurt themselves with ill-advised penalties.

The Blues made it interesting with third-period goals by Eric Boguniecki and Weight before the comeback fell short. St. Louis outshot Vancouver 13-2 in the third period.

“We had a much better third period,” forward Cory Stillman said. “If we could have come out like that at the start, it might have been a different game.”

St. Louis has never lost a series in which it led 3-1, but the Canucks have come back twice from that deficit to win.

“Momentum can definitely work in your favor,” center Brendan Morrison said. “And I guess we’ve got it right now.”

The Canucks were second in the NHL in goals in the regular season, and their offense has come to life the last two games. After scoring four goals in the first four games, Vancouver has nine in the last two, putting constant pressure on goalie Chris Osgood.

Naslund, who finished second in the NHL with 104 points, had one assist in the first three games of the series. In the last three contests he has three goals and two assists.

“He’s playing with so much confidence,” Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. “He’s captured the pace of the game, and when skilled players capture the pace and they get the puck, they know what to do with it.”

Henrik Sedin and Ed Jovanovski both scored on power-play rebounds in the second period for Vancouver.

The Blues trailed 4-1 entering the third period of the last two games with a chance to end the series.

The Canucks scored on their second shot at 3:49 of the first as Naslund tapped in the rebound of Brendan Morrison’s shot that trickled between Osgood’s pads but was headed wide.

Weight tied it on a shot from the point on a power play at 10:42 before the Canucks regained control. Ohlund beat a screened Osgood from the left circle during a 4-on-4 at 14:25 of the first.

Sedin made it 3-1 on the rebound of a shot by Ohlund at 8:52 of the second. Jovanovski’s rebound shot on another power play made it 4-1 at 16:12.

The Blues finally answered at 6:21 of the third when Boguniecki scored with a backhand shot while on a rush. Weight scored off a cross-ice feed from ScottMellanby at 10:13, again on a power play.

Notes

The Blues have outscored the Canucks 10-1 in the third period. … Weight has 12 points in the series. His five goals have come on the power play. … The Canucks led the NHL with a team-record 54 points on the road in the regular season. … Blues C Petr Cajanek made his playoff debut after missingthe first five games with a facial laceration.

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Chris Osgood Det 26 22