Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack, of Sweden, makes a glove save against the Nashville Predators during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

Lack earns his first post-Luongo shutout vs. Predators


The Vancouver Canucks’ chances of making the playoffs are remote, but they got a boost tonight from Eddie Lack, who turned aside 30 shots to earn a 2-0 victory over Nashville.

It was Lack’s fourth shutout of the season and his first since he ascended to the starting role after Vancouver traded away Roberto Luongo.

His efforts kept Vancouver in the contest until Nicklas Jensen finally broke the scoreless tie at 6:06 of the third period. Alexander Edler provided the insurance goal for the Canucks a little over a minute later.

If nothing else, that can be taken as encouraging signs for the Canucks’ future prospects. They’re putting a lot of faith in Lack, 26, but the Canucks are hoping that Jensen also proves to be an important part of their team. The 21-year-old forward now has three goals in his last four games and is on a four-contest point streak.

The present still looks bleak though. Vancouver is three points behind the Phoenix Coyotes in the battle for the second Wild Card spot, which might not sound too bad, but the Canucks have also played in three extra games.

As for Nashville, this was its third straight loss and another nail in the coffin. The Predators are one of the worst offensive teams in the league and that’s been especially apparent lately as they’ve only managed two goals over the span of their current losing streak.

Bruins’ second line officially goes under the microscope

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While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.

Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
Chris KellyJoonas KemppainenZac Rinaldo

The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.

So, where is Krejci’s game now?

Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.

So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?

On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.

So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?

“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks