The Vancouver Canucks made something out of nothing on Monday night, defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0, extending their win streak to five games while staying undefeated in December. Eddie Lack earned his first career shutout thanks to a 31-save performance, snapping a three-game Carolina winning streak. Despite the Canucks playing practically the entire game with just one lone goal from a surprise contributor, Lack stepped up in a big way to keep the winning streak alive.
Chris Tanev of all people opened the scoring for the Canucks early as Andrej Sekera found himself without a stick. With Sekera attempting to pick up a spare stick from a teammate, Tanev took advantage of the extra space created, firing in his second goal of the season, tying a career high, to give Vancouver the early 1-0 lead at 3:35.
While shorthanded, the Canucks unleashed for four straight shots on goal in matter of seconds in the best offensive display that didn’t end in a goal. The play started as Ryan Kesler blocked a pass and moved it up ice to Daniel Sedin who shook off a check from Nathan Gerbe, firing a backhand shot on net. Dan Hamhuis came in for a rebound slap shot, getting a bonus chance off his own rebound. Henrik chipped in a blast of his own as he charged into the zone right out of the penalty box.
The Canucks went 0-for-2 on the powerplay during the opening period, but it was more like 0-for-1 as Vancouver’s second chance lasted a whopping two seconds before Kesler was sent off for roughing at the end of the period.
The team’s started the second period playing 4-on-4 as Kesler and Sekera served their respective penalties two seconds apart. Moments later, Ryan Murphy was sent off for tripping Daniel Sedin. The Canucks were given an extended power play, as they were able to control the puck for about thirty seconds or so with six skaters on ice as Henrik set up for a quality shot.
The Canucks were given a late opportunity with 1:46 left in the period as Tim Gleason was sent off for hooking, but the power play ended quickly as Jason Garrison was called off for. For the second time, Vancouver wasted away a power play opportunity early into their advantage.
Much of the third period was the Canucks just trying to hang on in the final 20 minutes during their second game in as many nights. Luckily, Eddie Lack was up to the challenge, stopping everything that Carolina brought on net, including a particularly sharp save on a bouncing puck in front of the net during the final few minutes.
What I was personally impressed with was the Canucks ability to close out the game despite playing with just a one-goal lead for over 55 minutes. No penalties were called in the third period and despite the lack of whistles, Vancouver’s stamina held tough to wrap up the win. After getting 13 shots on net in the first period, the Canucks scrapped together 13 shots in the second and third periods combined. But when your netminder is on like Lack was, shots on goal just aren’t as crucial as normal.
Jannik Hansen added one final empty net goal, just so there wouldn't be any drama in the last minute. Because I think I can speak for all of us when I say the last thing this team needed was another unnecessary overtime loss.
As the final seconds ticked away, the crowd chanted, “Eddie! Eddie!” cheering on Lack as he completed the shutout, something Roberto Luongo could take notes on (ZING!). Bobby Lu still got the win last night though, so we’re allowed to make that joke.
Ryan Kesler was quoted afterwards saying the game was just as boring to play as it was to watch, which makes the leader board for my favorite quote of the year so far. I was worried my recap might have Lacked something (pun intended). Ok, I'm done now. *Hangs head in shame.*
Vancouver now gets a much-needed break until Friday before taking on the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night.