Ryan Miller

Canucks fall apart after taking 2-0 lead vs. Jackets


The Vancouver Canucks took a 2-0 lead with goals just 40 seconds apart early in the second period, but their fortunes dramatically reserved in what ended up being a 6-2 loss to Columbus.

Marko Dano, 20, played a big part in the Blue Jackets’ comeback with two goals and an assist. Scott Hartnell netted his 22nd marker of the season midway through the third period to chase Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack out of the game.

Lack, who has been very effective for the most part in place of Ryan Miller (knee), turned aside just 25 of 30 shots. Jacob Markstrom made his first appearance for Vancouver since his “nightmare” performance on March 3 and saved both shots that he faced.

Every loss is problematic for a team battling for a playoff spot and coughing up a game against a squad near the bottom of the standings is always going to sting. Having said that, the timing of this setback is particularly bad for Vancouver for a couple of reasons. For starters, Calgary, Winnipeg, and San Jose all won tonight so the Western Conference race has tightened significantly. The other factor is that this was Vancouver’s final opportunity to feast on an Eastern Conference opponent.

The Canucks are 21-10-1 against the East in 2014-15, even with tonight’s loss. By comparison, Vancouver is 19-16-3 against Western Conference opponents and that’s all the squad has left.

Vancouver will play against Los Angeles next, which it has a 0-3-0 record against in 2014-15.

Lack: ‘So much is different this year, it’s hard to compare’


Eddie Lack isn’t worried about a repeat of last year, when the Vancouver Canucks goalie was forced to start 19 straight games down the stretch — in a span of 41 days, no less — after Roberto Luongo was traded to Florida in early March.

This time around, with starter Ryan Miller reportedly out until at least the playoffs, Lack doesn’t believe his game will suffer with the increased workload, as it did last year.

“My body and mentally, I am feeling way better, but I am getting a lot more rest in between starts too,” Lack said ahead of his 13th straight appearance tonight versus Columbus, per NHL.com.

“So much is different this year, it’s hard to compare. I’m feeling good.”

Lack credits a new offseason workout regiment for making him stronger and more durable.

From a travel perspective, the schedule has been less arduous, too. Last year, from March 4-27, the Canucks had eight away games. This year, they’ll only have four during that same frame, with none of them outside their time zone.

To be sure, Lack is unlikely to start the remainder of the schedule. Jacob Markstrom may get the nod this weekend, either Saturday in Los Angeles or Sunday in Arizona. The Canucks also have a tough four-games-in-six-nights trip through St. Louis, Nashville, Chicago, and Winnipeg starting March 30.

Obviously, coach Willie Desjardins will want to keep Lack fresh as possible. Because there’s another thing that’s unlike last year at this time — the Canucks are in a playoff spot.

Related: After ‘nightmare’ start for Markstrom, Canucks face goaltending conundrum

Report: Ryan Miller won’t be back before the playoffs


Ryan Miller will not be back before the playoffs, reports TSN’s Farhan Lalji from Vancouver.

According to Lalji, the injured Canucks goalie needs “at least three more weeks before he begins skating again.” Three weeks from today is Apr. 8. The last day of the regular season is Apr. 11. The playoffs start Apr. 15.

Miller, 34, suffered a sprained knee Feb. 22 on Long Island. That left the starting role to backup Eddie Lack, who’s been excellent as the Canucks have gone 6-3-1 in the 10 games since. The 27-year-old fan favorite has a .934 save percentage in March.

Miller’s status, in concert with Lack’s solid play, would seem to make Lack the favorite to start Vancouver’s first game of the playoffs, assuming the Canucks manage to qualify.

With 13 regular-season games still to play, it should also be interesting to see when Jacob Markstrom gets another shot after his “nightmare” start versus San Jose on March 3.

The Canucks have two more back-to-back sets, including this weekend when they play in Los Angeles Saturday and Arizona Sunday.

Related: With Miller reportedly out 4-6 weeks, Canucks ‘confident’ in Lack

PHT Morning Skate: ‘Hamburglar’ Hammond will get free McDonald’s for life


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond, whose often called The Hamburglar, has been given a lifetime card that will provide him with free McDonald’s. “I guess at the end of the day at least I know I’ll never end up starving. If hockey doesn’t work out, I have a meal plan,” Hammond said. (Ottawa Sun)

Editor’s Note: Play one-day fantasy hockey tonight! Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $30,000 league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first place wins $3,000. Starts Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Enter Now!

What happens if the players vote against inflating the salary cap by 5% next season? It turns out it might happen anyways. (Sportsnet)

The Florida Panthers’ competition to be the team’s backup goaltender for a practice has gone from having over 1,500 applications to a pair of finalists: Bill Ruggiero and Dustin Smith. (Panthers.nhl.com)

While recovering from a knee injury, Ryan Miller entered Eddie Lack’s pads competition:

Here are the highlights from Washington’s 4-3 shootout win over Buffalo:

The Buffalo Sabres are considering using some of their draft picks as trade chips. (John Vogl)

Teuvo Teravainen and Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman are upbeat about the 20-year-old forward’s progress. (CSN Chicago)

After ‘nightmare’ start for Markstrom, Canucks face goaltending conundrum


Four shots.

Three goals.

And that was the end of Jacob Markstrom’s season debut for the Vancouver Canucks, who went on to lose 6-2 at home to San Jose on Tuesday.

Markstrom only lasted 7:45 before Eddie Lack had to come off the bench, the latter’s night of rest quickly canceled.

“Not the start I wanted or the team wanted, and I’ve got to be better than that,” said Markstrom, per The Province. “I wanted all three goals back. It’s tough right now and I’m very disappointed in myself. It’s going to be a tough night but tomorrow is a new day. It was kind of a nightmare but it happens and you’ve got to refocus.”

When the 25-year-old next gets a chance is uncertain. Vancouver’s number one, Ryan Miller, could be out until the playoffs. Assuming the Canucks even make the playoffs, that is. Their cushion is down to three points after last night’s action.

Looking ahead, Vancouver has 14 more games in the month of March, including two sets of back-to-backs on Mar. 21-22 and 30-31.

Can Lack hold out until those back-to-backs? It would mean playing the next seven or eight in a row, on top of the six straight in which he’s already appeared, either as a starter or reliever.

If not, what can they expect of Markstrom after what happened against the Sharks?

“A game like that, he just has to forget about it,” said coach Willie Desjardins. “You get off to the wrong start and everything goes bad. The next time he’s got to bounce back and have a good one. Sometimes, you need to reset a bit and think about it. I just think it’s like a pitcher in baseball. You can have a Cy Young winner and sometimes he doesn’t have a good day. What does that mean? It means when his rotation comes up again, he goes again and I expect him to play well — that’s what I expect out of our goalies.”

Vancouver’s next game is Thursday in Arizona.