John Tortorella isn't one for context or the big picture but, to paraphrase George Orwell, he does realize some games are more equal than others. Friday night, the Vancouver Canucks faced the Stanley Cup champs at the madhouse on Madison with a rookie goalie and following two straight road losses which had taken the shine off their seven-game winning streak. So, yes, this was one was different. Then again, so was the result, right down to the improbable ending. "It was the way we won it," said Tortorella. "The way we hung in there. It was a long travel day and this has been a long trip. It's something you can hang on your hat on as a team. " In a game that could have ended up 100 different ways, 98 of which would have been bad for the Canucks, the locals rode the nerveless goalkeeping of Eddie Lack and a resilient team game to, zounds, a 3-2 shootout win over the Blackhawks and suddenly there world seemed like a different place. An 0-2-1 road trip had turned into a respectable 1-1-1 swing throughout the Central time zone. They were back in the sixth place in the West with one more game on their schedule - a home date against Winnipeg on Sunday - before a week-long Christmas break. That break will now have a different feel to it. So maybe it was appropriate the different goalie was the hero on this night. "When you're in it, you don't really think about it," Lack said of his starring turn. "It was the same thing when you're playing in the AHL. You just focus on what they're going to do next and try to anticipate." Except, in the AHL, you're not staring down Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and the most dangerous offence in the NHL. Lack, who's now 5-2 in his rookie campaign, surrendered an odiferous goal to Kris Versteeg seven minutes in,, then was beaten by Kane with the Hawks' first shot of the second period. At that point, the Canucks looked deader than Blockbuster stock but that was also the point when Lack boarded up the net and his teammates found their legs. The Canucks outshot the Hawks 20-15 over the final two periods and tied the game on goals by Zack Kassian and Daniel Sedin. In overtime, Tortorella, as promised, played most of the last two minutes with an extra forward in a) a desperate attempt to end the game there and b) avoid the shootout. Still, it said something about Lack's night that the Canucks, who are to the skills competition what the Canadian men's team is to soccer, won their second shootout of the season. Lack would stop seven of the eight shooters he faced - including Kane and Toews right off the bat - before Ryan Kesler finally ended the drama by beating Hawks rookie Antti Raanta on the Canucks' eighth shot. Tortorella's team had come into the game with a 1-4 record in shootout games and an abysmal 2-for-18 in individual attempts. In truth, they weren't a whole lot better on Friday night - the Sedins tried, the Sedins failed, this is a recording - but their goalie was up to the challenge.
Lack and Kesler come through in shootout as Canucks edge Blackhawks 3-2
Vancouver Province | Dec 21