Canucks' Lack blanks 'Canes in first home start

Monte Stewart, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Eddie Lack made his first home start with the Vancouver Canucks a memorable one Monday night.
Lack stopped 31 shots for the first shutout of his NHL career, and the Canucks blanked the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 with fans chanting "Eddie! Eddie!" just before the final horn sounded.
"I wouldn't say that I was nervous," Lack said. "It was more excitement."
The Canucks (18-10-5) posted their fifth consecutive win and gained a share of fifth place in the Western Conference. The Hurricanes (13-13-5) suffered their first loss in four games.
The Hurricanes outshot the Canucks 31-26, including 13-7 in the third period. Carolina last won in Vancouver on Oct. 15, 1999, a span of six games.
"We wanted to get more traffic in front," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "We got some pucks to the net, but he saw a lot of them, so we didn't get the screen and tip-type plays that we were hoping for."
Defenseman Chris Tanev, in the first period, and right winger Jannik Hansen, into an empty net in the game's final minute, scored for Vancouver.
Tanev, known for strong defensive play rather than scoring, netted just his second goal of the season on what he called a "lucky shot." He sounded more pleased for Lack than for himself.
"I lived with him in the minors," Tanev said. "I've known him for four years now. He's an awesome guy, and it's an incredible moment for him."
Lack, a 25-year-old Swede, is in his first season with the Canucks after three seasons in their farm system. He missed most of last season with Vancouver's former AHL affiliate in Chicago after undergoing hip surgery.
"The guys did an unbelievable job," said Lack, who was never drafted. He signed with the Canucks as a free agent. "It's funny, too, that (Tanev) had the game-winner."
Lack improved his record to 4-2-0. He assumed the backup role that opened after Cory Schneider was traded to the New Jersey Devils in the offseason. Lack's job was not guaranteed due to uncertainty surrounding his hip injury, but Canucks coach John Tortorella said Lack has provided stability after many wondered about his durability.
"First home game for him, I thought he handled himself tremendously," Tortorella said.
Known as the Stork because of his large and lanky frame, Lack drew his inaugural home start after posting a win over the Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., earlier this month. He spelled a resting Roberto Luongo, who earned a win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.
"The thing I like most about Eddie is just his presence," Tortorella said. "I think he settles the team down. There's not a lot of extra movement to his game."
As a result, Lack displayed little difficulty controlling rebounds, and his glove hand sizzled as he snared several hard shots in each period.
In the other net, Carolina goaltender Justin Peters faced the Canucks for the first time since turning pro in 2009-10. He finished with 24 saves.
"I think as a team we deserved a better fate," Peters said. "We played the right way, we had some chances, just give credit to their team, and Lack was playing well."
Tanev put the Canucks on the scoreboard first as he put home a seemingly harmless wrist shot from the blue line just 3:35 into the game.
Peters had to be sharp later in the first period, but when Carolina started pressing near the end of the period, Lack took over center stage.
The Hurricanes came out firing in the third period and rarely let up, keeping the puck in the Vancouver zone for most of the period. To alleviate the pressure, Tortorella called a timeout with 5:06 remaining in regulation.
Despite applying more pressure after the stoppage, the Hurricanes could not beat Lack.
NOTES: Hurricanes C Manny Malhotra played in Vancouver for the first time since Canucks general manager Mike Gillis shut down his season after nine games in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign. Gillis cited a career-threatening eye injury that Malhotra suffered in March 2011. ... Hurricanes backup G Anton Khudobin missed his 25th consecutive game with an ankle injury, while LW Drayson Bowman missed his second game with a lower-body injury and D Brett Bellemore (upper body) sat out his third straight contest. ... It was the second and final meeting of the season between the Canucks and Hurricanes. The teams met more than once in a season for the first time since 2001-02. ... The Canucks scratched D Yannick Weber, a day after recalling him from AHL Utica, as well as LW Tom Sestito, who has an undisclosed injury. ... Vancouver D Alex Edler missed his third consecutive game with a reported lower-body injury.

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