The Vancouver Canucks got past the first round for the second time since 1995. The Dallas Stars are going home quickly for a third consecutive season.

Trevor Linden scored the go-ahead goal on a power play 7 minutes into the third period, lifting the Canucks to a 4-1, Game 7 win last night, ending the visiting Stars' attempt to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven series.

Linden, a former Canucks captain playing in his ninth career Game 7 for Vancouver, tipped Mattias Ohlund's quick point shot through the legs of Stars goalie Marty Turco, the puck barely trickling over the goal line inside the far post.

Bryan Smolinski and Taylor Pyatt added empty-net goals, Henrik Sedin had a goal and an assist, and Roberto Luongo made 19 saves for the Canucks, who will start the second round in Anaheim tomorrow night.

"Yeah, it was a tight series the whole way," Luongo said. "We worked hard all year and it's nice to get rewarded like that."

Turco, who shut out Vancouver in the previous two games, finished with 28 saves and Mike Modano sent a shot off the post and crossbar with 4 minutes left for the Stars, who were forced to play Game 7 without top defenseman Sergei Zubov (torso injury).

Joel Lundqvist scored late in the first period for Dallas before Sedin finally ended Turco's shutout streak on the power play with 4:48 left in the second period.


* Atlanta Thrashers captain Scott Mellanby is expected to announce his retirement today. The Thrashers have scheduled a telephone news conference for Mellanby, 40, and general manager Don Waddell for this morning. A team spokesman said Mellanby's future with the team will be discussed.

The Thrashers were eliminated from the playoffs in four straight games by the New York Rangers. Mellanby, who started his career in 1985-86 with the Flyers and spent six seasons in Philly, spoke of his probable retirement after the playoff loss.

* Detroit forward Tomas Holmstrom is day-to-day with an eye injury after Calgary's Craig Conroy hit him with his stick at 6:44 of overtime in Detroit's 2-1, series-clinching victory over the Flames on Sunday night. *