Lack's composure pays off in Canucks' win over Hawks

Lack's composure pays off in Canucks' win over Hawks
December 20, 2013, 10:15 pm
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Nina Falcone

Eddie Lack just tried to focus on staying in the moment as he led the Canucks onto the ice on Friday night.

The 25-year-old goaltender was starting his seventh-career NHL game as he took on the Blackhawks, and from the time the puck dropped inside the United Center, his plan remained consistent: wait the defending champions out and stay patient.

His technique paid off, as Lack earned the win following an eight-round shootout. 

"It's huge," Lack said of the Canucks' 3-2 victory. "I think everyone felt a little bit tired from all the travel and everything but I feel like once the game got going I thought we played really good."

The Canucks came into Friday's game feeling desperate following two back-to-back road losses. But the Blackhawks started out strong, controlling the momentum throughout the first period to take an early lead.

"I thought I let the first goal back in a little bit cheap, so I wanted to get my team back in it and I thought we did a huge job coming back from 2-0 to taking it to a shootout," Lack said. "It was a good game for sure."

The Canucks' performance progressed as Friday's game went on. Although they faced a a two-goal deficit, Lack said his confidence didn't take a hit as he went on to make a few big saves in both regulation and the shootout.

[MORE: Hawks tripped up in shootout loss to Canucks]

It's that composure that continues to impress his teammates as well as coach John Tortorella.

"I've been saying it all along, nothing phases him," Tortorella said of the goaltender. "He just goes about his business. I'm sure he'd like to have the first one (goal) back, but it doesn't affect his game. He's staring down some pretty good forwards in the shootout, it's impressive. It's good for us now and it's good for us in the future."

There's a lot of pressure for a young goaltender to come into a building like the United Center and face the No. 1 team in the league. But after playing for the AHL's Chicago Wolves, Lack felt confident in his surroundings from the time the National Anthem was sung before the game.

"I've actually watched a lot of games here during my two years with the Chicago Wolves," he said. "So I felt prepared for it, I was looking forward to it."

A number of Lack's friends and family were inside the United Center, watching his first game on Chicago's big stage. He said that helped make the win that much sweeter, claiming it was the "most fun" game of his career.

It turned out to be a fun one for his teammates too, as Friday's win proved to be a big one for Vancouver. Tortorella — in typical fashion — didn't hold back his thoughts on the team's overall progression against the Blackhawks.

"They showed us a little balls, that's what they did," Tortorella said very matter-of-factly. "First period I think we showed them a little too much respect. You should respect that team, it's a really good hockey club, but I think we just kind of tested the waters a little bit. But I thought we started taking over the game in the second period."

Lack was happy to get the win in front of his family and friends. He was even happier he was able to help out his teammates before returning to Vancouver.

"I just wanted to get a win for the team," he said. "That's the most important thing right now. Get a good end to this road trip and go home and get a nice two points before the break here."