Vancouver head coach Willie Desjardins — who, it has to be said, treats lineup decisions like top-secret nuclear codes — played it coy on Wednesday, refusing to reveal who’d be his starting netminder when the Canucks open the playoffs next week.
— Jon Abbott (@HockeyAbbs) April 8, 2015
To most, the decision is simple and logical — Eddie Lack should open as the No. 1. The lanky Swede has been Vancouver’s goalie of record in 19 of 21 games since Ryan Miller went down to injury in late February, going 11-6-2 while backstopping Vancouver to the playoffs after a one-year absence. Lack has played well, played often and justifiably earned the gig.
But there are some things to consider with Miller.
The first is that he signed a three-year, $18 million deal to be the starter in Vancouver and, through two-thirds of the season, performed in that role quite well (28-15-1, 2.47 GAA, .913 save percentage.) And there is the oft-uttered “you shouldn’t lose your job to injury” adage to consider, even if nobody believes it to actually be true (just ask Drew Bledsoe.)
There’s also the fact Miller appears to be racing back from injury. On Friday, he flew out to join the team in Winnipeg just so he could practice and, today, said there was a chance he’d dress for tomorrow’s penultimate regular-season game against Arizona, which could pave the way for a start against Edmonton in the finale:
#Canucks Miller wouldn’t rule out dressing as back up tomorrow. Said wants to be an option. Needs medical clearance & coaches on board
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) April 8, 2015
Finally, there’s the experience factor. Lack has a grand total of zero playoff games on his resume; Miller has 53, which includes a pair of trips to the Eastern Conference Final with Buffalo in 2006 and ’07.