Game 39: Excellent Eddie Encore
The rookie netminder, with his father and grandmother in attendance at Rogers Arena, came off the bench and made 15 saves on 16 shots to lead the Canucks to a 2-1 victory over the Jets.
Chris Tanev's fourth goal of the season scored midway through the third period snapped a 1-1 tie and proved to be the game-winner as the Canucks stretched their home ice win streak to six games and improved their overall season record to 22-11-6.
Brad Richardson opened the scoring for the Canucks on a power play in the first period while Vancouver-native Evander Kane had the Jets' lone goal in the middle stanza also on a man-advantage.
Vancouver probably would not have been in a position to come away with the win had it not been for yet another strong performance by Lack, who was coming off Friday's 3-2 shootout win in Chicago.
The soon-to-be 25-year-old made several highlight-reel saves on Friday including back-to-back stops off Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien on a Winnipeg power play in the second period and then had a pair of dandy stops off Mark Scheifele in the early stages of the third period before Tanev's go-ahead marker.
As impressive as Lack's performance was, however, the big story of the night was clearly the uncertain status of starting netminder Roberto Luongo.
Luongo, who came into the game one win shy of his 250th victory as a Canuck, made six saves in 16:30 of action before leaving the contest with a lower-body injury. Head Coach John Tortorella would only state that his star goaltender was day-to-day at his post-game press conference.
A prolonged injury to the superstar netminder could have major repercussion for not only the Canucks but for Team Canada as well in the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
The Canucks and their fans – not to mention Canadian hockey fans from coast-to-coast – can only hope Luongo will be back and ready for action when Vancouver resumes play following the holiday break next Sunday when they visit the Calgary Flames.
IT'S BEEN A WHILE: Brad Richardson's third career goal, scored during his rookie season in 2005.06 with the Avalanche, was a power play goal that came on February 10, 2006 in Columbus. He hasn't had a power play marker since then, at least not until tonight when he tallied his 50th career goal with one second left on a first period Vancouver man-advantage.
ZEBRA DOWN: Roberto Luongo was not the only prominent individual to leave Sunday's contest. Referee Ian Walsh was also forced to leave the game after injuring his back in a collision involving Vancouver's Dale Weise early in the second period. Fellow referee Kyle Rehman was forced to officiate the majority of the final two periods on his own.
NOTES AND NUMBERS: Chris Tanev tallied his second game-winner of the season with his third period marker. Three of his six career goals have been game-winners... David Booth notched his 100th career NHL assist on Tanev's marker... Kevin Bieksa appeared in his 500th career NHL game all with the Canucks... Mike Santorelli faced the Jets for the first time since leaving that organization... Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele extended his point streak to six games (3-5-8).