ST. LOUIS — Eddie Lack now has more wins this season than Cory Schneider.
Backup goalie was one of the question marks heading into this season for the Vancouver Canucks. It hasn’t been a problem so far, thanks to Lack.
The 25-year-old Swedish rookie has been solid in all three of his starts and has won two of them,.
He stopped 22 of 24 shots Friday night to help the Canucks beat the St, Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime at the Scottrade Center.
“It is huge for me,” said Lack, whose perpetual smile was wider than normal after the game. “It’s the best team I have played so far, so it builds the confidence and I am happy I can help the team get some points.”
Coach John Tortorella didn’t know much about Lack when took the job. He did know that he had no NHL experience and that, of course, made him nervous. But Tortorella has been delighted with what he has seen so far.
“He has not only played well, I just think he has a nice arrogance about himself, too,” Tortorella said. “I think teams play off their goalie, especially their backup. It’s not like he is flopping around and making a save and not sure if it’s going to go in. He is steady. I think our team feeds off of that. It’s really encouraging. It’s still very early, but it’s really encouraging right now how he is handling himself.”
Many thought Lack was being thrown to the wolves Friday night. The odds seemed stacked against the Canucks, who were playing their fifth game in seven nights and dressing a depleted lineup against a well-rested Blues team.
“It was a huge game and a battle for everyone,” Lack said. “We knew it was going to be tough. I know everyone is talking about our injuries and stuff, but we have a lot of guys in Utica that are capable of coming up and playing and I think the two guys that came up for this game did a good job for us.”
Those two guys Lack was referring to were forwards Darren Archibald and Pascal Pelletier. The two Utica call-ups skated with defenceman Yannick Weber on Vancouver’s makeshift fourth line.
It was the first NHL game for Archibald, a 23-year-old who has has toiled the past two years in the ECHL and AHL.
“It’s all still pretty surreal right now, pretty exciting,” Archibald said.
Archibald and Pelletier, a minor league veteran with 13 previous NHL games on his resume, got the call late Thursday from the Canucks.
“I was just sitting there watching TV, getting ready for our game down there that I was supposed to play tonight,” Archibald said. “I got the call and flew out this morning. I called my Mom and let her know. I don’t think she really believed me at first.”
Archibald and Pelletier each logged more than eight minutes and Tortorella was happy with their work.
““They played well, they gave us some good forechecking, didn’t hurt us defensively and tonight we had the mindset of getting everyone in the game,” Tortorella said. “We know how long the trip has been, the travel last night. And I thought the new guys came in and gave us some good shifts throughout the game.”
Archibald managed two shots on goal.
“We got a number of shifts there in each period and just tried to keep it simple and keep the feet moving,” he said.
Archibald and Pelletier were called up after the Canucks lost David Booth and Dale Weise to injuries Thursday night in New Jersey. Weise was spotted on crutches in the Vancouver dressing room after Friday night’s game.
The Canucks are also missing forwards Alex Burrows, Jannik Hansen and Jordan Schroeder, so Pelletier and Archibald both accompanied the team back to Vancouver, where the Canucks begin a three-game homestand on Monday night against Washington.