VANCOUVER, BC -- It’ll be Eddie Lack.
Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins announced his starter for Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday (8 p.m. MT; CBC, SN960).
And Lack’s his guy.
“Good, it’s obviously something I’ve been looking forward too for a while now,” Lack said. “It’s just going to be a great feeling. My dad is here too and he’s excited to be here with me. It’s going to be a fun experience.
“I’ve been waiting for a little bit here. It’s been six days between games and I haven’t had that in a very long time. It’s been just a lot of practice and I’m looking forward to going out and playing.”
Lack led the Canucks down the stretch after Ryan Miller, who signed a three-year contract with $18 million last June, sustained a sprained right knee Feb. 22.
He finished with an 18-13-4 record with a 2.45 goals against average and .921 save percentage, helping Vancouver back into the playoffs after a one-year absence. Lack went 12-6-1 with a .927 save percentage after Miller’s injury.
He’s got the confidence of his teammates.
“For him, its just go out and play the same way,” Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. “It is the playoffs but it’s still hockey, you need to do the same things that made you successful in the regular season. He’ll be fine.”
Lack’s recent run, coupled with Miller’s inactivity, earned him the start.
“Ryan just hasn’t been in enough,” Desjardins said. “It was tough for him to come back for one game. It wasn’t fair to put him in that situation where he hasn’t a good chunk of time to get ready.”
Miller came back to play in the Canucks’ regular-season finale Saturday but was admittedly rusty making 23 saves in a 6-5 win against the Edmonton Oilers but admitted he still recovering from the injury. The 34-year-old said he still wasn’t at 100 percent following practice Tuesday.
"I feel confident in my knee and I feel confident in traffic now that I got into a game," Miller told NHL.com on Tuesday. "I just want to do everything a little bit quicker and a little bit stronger in my shooting lanes. I fell out of some shooting lanes with some habits you get when you don't face pucks in a while and get a little but weak in the lower body or your endurance isn't high enough. You tend to fall into saves and you are not holding on until that last little second. So that's what is coming back and feeling pretty good in practice."
Memories of Roberto Luongo and Corey Schneider from past playoff runs had many questioning if another goaltending controversy would brew in Vancouver.
During that time, Lack served as the Canucks third goaltender.
After two years of playoff struggles, Schneider was dealt to the New Jersey Devils at the 2013 NHL Draft for the pick used to select current Canucks forward Bo Horvat. Luongo was traded to the Florida Panthers last March.
Now, it’s Lack’s turn.