Vancouver Canucks' goalie Eddie Lack, of Sweden, makes a save against the Carolina Hurricanes during second period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, on Monday December 9, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
VANCOUVER - Vancouver Canucks head coach John Tortorella has a lot of admiration for his backup goalie.
Fans at Rogers Arena finally got to see Eddie Lack for themselves.
The 25-year-old Swedish rookie didn't disappoint in his first-ever home appearance Monday, backstopping Vancouver with 31 saves for his first NHL shutout as the Canucks downed the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0.
With No. 1 goalie Roberto Luongo getting the night off, Lack continued his steady play in helping Vancouver to a fifth straight win.
"The thing I like most about Eddie is just his presence. I think he settles the team down," said Tortorella. "There's not a lot of extra movement in his game.
"He doesn't get rattled."
Lack usually plays the second game of back-to-backs in place of Luongo and got the nod with Monday's contest coming on the heels of Sunday's 3-1 home victory over the Colorado Avalanche.
He was solid, if not spectacular, on a night where the Canucks kept the Hurricanes to the outside.
"The guys did an unbelievable job," said Lack. "I wouldn't say that I was nervous. It was more excitement."
And most importantly after his fourth win of the campaign, he has the confidence of his head coach.
"I hope it continues. As a coach you're looking at the present but you're also looking at the future, too, as you go through a long year with a condensed schedule that we have with the Olympics," said Tortorella. "Huge game for him tonight. First home game for him—I thought he handled himself tremendously."
Christopher Tanev and Jannik Hansen, into an empty net, scored for Vancouver (18-10-5), while Chris Higgins added two assists.
Tanev and Lack were roommates in the American Hockey League before making the jump to the NHL, so it was only fitting the former provided the game winner for the latter's first career shutout.
"I'm happy for him," said Tanev. "I've known him for four years now. He's an awesome guy and it's an incredible moment for him."
Justin Peters made 24 stops for Carolina (13-13-5), which saw its three-game winning streak snapped.
"I think as a team we deserved a better fate," said Peters. "We played the right way, we had some chances, just give credit to their team. Lack was playing well."
With Vancouver nursing a 1-0 lead after Tanev opened the scoring in the first period, Lack made two glove saves early in the third, including a hot shot off the stick of Hurricanes forward Nathan Gerbe.
Ryan Kesler had a chance to stretch Vancouver's lead a few moments later, but fired wide on a 2-on-1 with Mike Santorelli.
Carolina made a push in the dying minutes, with Hurricanes captain Eric Staal coming the closest, but Lack was there to the shut the door before Hansen scored into an empty net.
"I thought we were coming on," said Carolina head coach Kirk Muller. "You have to fight for your opportunities and in the second we got going and the third we got a lot of juice but they are not giving up a lot of chances."
Lack's last start came in the Canucks' 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., on Dec. 1 and he watched as Vancouver gave him a 1-0 lead early in the first on Monday night.
Tanev collected a feed from fellow defenceman Dan Hamhuis and fired a snapshot from the point that found its way through traffic past Peters at 3:35 for his second of the season.
Hamhuis then jumped into the rush with Canucks shorthanded, but fired wide of Peters' goal. Then with Vancouver still down a man, Peters was forced to make a pad stop on Kesler, two more saves on Hamhuis and then another on Henrik Sedin as the Canucks' No. 1-ranked penalty killing unit buzzed around the Hurricanes' zone.
The visitors started to find their legs in the second period, but found it difficult to get much going against the tight-checking Canucks.
In one of the few moments of action, Lack was forced to come up big off the rush, stopping Riley Nash and Patrick Dwyer in quick succession.
"I think it was just as boring a game to play as it was to watch," said Kesler. "Those are the games we have to win, though. They didn't give us much and we didn't give them much and Eddie made the saves when he had to."
Former Canucks forward Manny Malhotra played in Vancouver for the first time as a the member of the Hurricanes. The Canucks shut Malhotra down after nine games last season, saying they were concerned for the 33-year-old's health following a serious eye injury during the 2010-11 season.
Malhotra got an American League Hockey tryout with Carolina's affiliate this season before getting called up to the big club. He made his debut Nov. 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"It's obviously disappointing we didn't get the result we wanted," said Malhotra, who spent three season with Vancouver. "We felt we carried the play for most of the game, we were effective getting puck in deep, getting sustained pressure on them, but Lack saw a lot of pucks tonight. We need to do a better job being in the goalie's eyes and battling in front of their net."
Notes: The Canucks don't play again until Friday when they welcome the Edmonton Oilers. Vancouver then hosts Boston on Saturday night. It will mark the Bruins' first visit to Rogers Arena since their victory in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final. ... Carolina plays at Edmonton on Tuesday.
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