Eddie Lack lost his balance and his stick in a couple of awkward first-period moments Monday but never lost the will to showcase his skill while putting a surgically repaired left hip to a significant test at Rogers Arena.

With 25 saves in the first 40 minutes of a 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks in the preseason opener for both clubs he got a leg up on Joacim Eriksson in the battle for the back-up job to Roberto Luongo.

Prospect Joe Cannata logged the final 20 minutes and gave up the winning power-play goal to Tommy Wingels while Brendan Gaunce and Hunter Shinkaruk provided the scoring for the Canucks who were outshot 42-16. But all eyes were on Lack.

Even though coach John Tortorella professes to know — or wants to know — little about the position and the crazy characters who stand in front of howling vulcanized rubber the new bench boss had to like what he saw from above while assistants Mike Sullivan and Glen Gulutzan guided the club. Lack was shut down last season in the AHL and played just five games before season-ending surgery in January.

“I just want him to stop the puck — that’s all I know about it” said Tortorella.

“I thought he was solid” said Sullivan. “He certainly got tested.”

What Tortorella will come to learn about the smiling Swede is he might have the right demeanour to deal with backing up Luongo who could log as many as 70 games this season. Quick of wit and able to use his 6-foot-5 frame to take away shooting angles the goals that beat him Monday were the result of a little rust and little chance. Lack got his right pad on a Wingels shot midway through the first period but struggled to push off and get to the post in time before Joe Pavelski whipped the rebound home.

“It (the shot) popped on my pad and I was close to getting the rebound and it snuck in” shrugged Lack. “You’re going to have goals like that.”

And while Lack would face 17 shots in the first period many were of the soft variety and served as a perfect way to ease back into his first game since Nov. 24. During stoppages in play Lack was constantly on his knees and stretching by going post to post to stay loose. It paid off.