SPORTS

After physical Game 2, Eddie Lack knows he has to stay focused against Flames

04/18/2015 07:45 EDT | Updated 07/06/2015 12:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack will never be confused with Billy Smith.

In fact, he hadn't even heard of the former New York Islanders netminder until after Game 2 of Vancouver's raucous Western Conference quarter-final with the Calgary Flames.

But Lack took a page out of Smith's book from the 1980s in the Canucks' 4-1 win on Friday night that evened the series 1-1, throwing blocker punches at Brandon Bollig after the bruising forward put him in a "choke hold" during a second-period scrum.

Lack was also bumped by Michael Ferland in the third period on a delayed penalty, but shook off both incidents to make 23 saves for his first playoff victory.

"When stuff like that happens sometimes you just to mark your territory," Lack said Saturday before the Canucks flew to Calgary. "But I've moved on and I'm ready for (Game 3 on Sunday). I'm just going to play my game and stay in my bubble."

Lack said he expects the Flames to try to get at him again, but downplayed the impact of any possible crease incursions.

"If they think so then that's good," he said. "I just tried to focus on the next shot and that's what I've been doing all year."

Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins laughed at any comparison of Lack to Smith or another goalie known for how he defended himself — Ron Hextall — but said it will be important for the 27-year-old Swede to stay away from the physicality of the series.

"That doesn't win you any hockey games," said Desjardins. "Our focus is on the game. We want to play with a lot of energy and we want to play hard."

Game 2 degenerated into a melee late in the third period with all 10 skaters on the ice dropping the gloves, resulting in 132 penalty minutes and a $50,000 fine for Flames head coach Bob Hartley — an incident that somewhat overshadowed a solid performance from both Lack and the Canucks.

Vancouver dropped the opener 2-1 despite playing well for long stretches and have held Calgary's No. 1 line of Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler off the scoresheet in both contests.

"You've got to take the body on them," said Desjardins. "They're good players. We don't play them different than we would play anybody else. We have to play them hard and that's what we're doing."

Canucks defenceman Alexander Edler, who along with partner Chris Tanev, has been out against Monahan, Gaudreau and Hudler a lot in the first two games, said staying sharp is key.

"They have lots of skill. Good players," said Edler, who had four hits in Game 2. "You've got to take away their time and space and try to play them hard.

"Being physical is always important in the playoffs over a long series. They might not be big, but they're pretty smart and quick."

Speaking with reporters in Calgary, Hartley said he believes his top offensive trio will eventually find a way through against the Canucks.

"I have the utmost confidence in those guys," said the coach. "They will get it done. They'll find a way ... that's playoffs. No one said it would be easy."

Lack, meanwhile, has been serenaded with "Eddie! Eddie!" chants at Rogers Arena during the first two games, but after Friday's fisticuffs raised the temperature of the series he expects a much different tone at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday and Tuesday.

"It's obviously a little bit different, but being hated and being loved is kind of the same thing," Lack said with a smile. "Maybe I can pretend it's complimentary."

---

Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter

MORE:cpSports