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Lack to start Game 1 for Canucks against Flames

by Kevin Woodley /

VANCOUVER – Goaltender Eddie Lack will make his first Stanley Cup Playoff start for the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round against the Calgary Flames (10 p.m. ET; CBC, USA, TVA), coach Willie Desjardins confirmed after the morning skate.

Most expected Lack to start because No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller is not fully recovered from a knee injury sustained on Feb. 22, but Desjardins wouldn't confirm it earlier in the week.

Now that he has, the questions shift to Lack not having any playoff experience. The easygoing Swede isn't worried about it.

"Not yet, no," Lack said when asked if he felt any extra nerves. "I've been trying to prepare as I have all season here and obviously there's a little more media in here but other than that I kind of feel normal."

After a slow start to his second full NHL season, Lack was at his best after Miller sprained his right knee in a collision with teammate Jannik Hansen. He went 12-6-1 with a .927 save percentage the past two months, and finished the season 18-13-4 with a 2.45 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.

Lack earned the trust of his teammates with big wins down the stretch and by bouncing back quickly from poor performances, and even slow starts within a game.

Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows wasn't worried about how Lack would respond to the added pressure of his first playoff game.

"Eddie has this carefree quality," Burrows said. "Things people think are really intense, he finds ways to make it feel like just another day and I'm sure he's going to approach this game like he does the regular season. He's shown all year how good a goalie he is."

Miller will dress as the backup. The veteran goalie returned to make 23 saves in a 6-5 win overtime against the Edmonton Oilers in the season finale Saturday, but admitted he felt rusty afterwards and said Tuesday he is still 10 to 15 percent from being fully healthy.

Still, Lack didn't find out until Monday he was starting Game 1.

"I've kind of gotten little hints here and there," Lack said. "But I actually asked [Canucks goaltending coach Roland Melanson] Monday if I am starting and he said, 'Yeah.'"

Lack insisted nothing changes.

"I feel like I have been doing a good job of that and staying in the moment, and focusing on the next save," he said. "It's something I have to build on tonight."

For all the talk of not changing his routine, Lack has pledged to stay off Twitter during his first NHL postseason, calling himself "Edward Twitterhands" in his final post and joking Tuesday he deleted the app from his phone to avoid any temptation. He also flew his father in from Sweden to enjoy his first playoff game with him.

"He's here to experience it with me," Lack said. "It's obviously something I have been looking forward to for a while now."

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