Lack’s Third Shutout Breaks Nucks’ Losing Skid

It was the perfect way to come back after the Olympic break, snapping a seven game losing streak. Jannik Hansen, who has not registered a point in seven games, scored the only goal of the game on Wednesday night, a 1-0 win over one of the NHL’s top teams, the St. Louis Blues. One of the keys to the game though, was Eddie Lack, backstopping the Canucks to a win in his third shutout of the season.

Lack’s first two shutouts of what is his first NHL season came on December 9th against the Carolina Hurricanes and December 29th against the Calgary Flames. This third shutout was also Lack’s third win this season against St. Louis, who are sitting 19 points atop of the Canucks.

“It feels very good to be able to shut the door,” Lack told Canadian Press. “It was very big for our team. It’s a big relief … I feel like I have been working on this start for a while and I was really excited to play, and Rollie (Melanson, Vancouver’s goalie coach) has been bugging me for weeks saying we need to win these 1-0 games, so it’s huge.”

He has started 20 games so far this season, winning nine, and losing eight in regular time and three in overtime. Although Lack lost the last five games he played prior to the Olympic break (the last one on February 3rd), and has a win record that is far from spectacular, he has so far proven to be a dependable and capable backup, playing through a time when the players in front of him are struggling to score.

“Outstanding,” head coach John Tortorella told the Vancouver Sun about Lack after Wednesday’s game. “Big saves at key times. I think he settles the team down, just the way he plays. There is not a lot of extra motion. He ate pucks tonight. There wasn’t a lot of rebounds. He played very well.”

Lately the Canucks have been giving up goals in the third period. In their last game before the Olympic break they entered the third period up 1-0 on Toronto, but then surrendered three goals in the third and lost the game. However, after Hansen scored on St. Louis at the 11:13 mark of the third period this Wednesday, Lack went on to make some key saves to keep the Canucks in the game.

Roberto Luongo may not have Cory Schneider to back him up anymore, but he has Eddie Lack, a 26-year old Swede who has more shutouts than Schneider did in his first full season as a backup with the Canucks in 2010-11. The rookie is far from the top of the Canucks’ list of concerns; as Tortorella said about the goalie situation: “That’s not a dilemma for me.”

Lack gets the start Friday night against the Minnesota Wild in the Canucks’ last game before the Heritage Classic on Sunday.

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