RALEIGH, N.C. – In between recording recent wins over the Chicago Blackhawks and the Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Eddie Lack took some time after practice on Wednesday to talk about the current upward trend in his play.
Having a one-on-one conversation with him is similar to skating in on him during a shootout, you’re not sure where he’s looking and what he’s thinking, but he’s ready to provide a finish that will entertain one way or another.
Against the Caps on New Year’s Eve, Lack provided a 30-save performance that snapped Washington’s recent nine-game win streak as the Hurricanes sent their fans home with a 4-2 win.
Earlier in the week, Lack made a season-high 35 saves, including 18 in the third period, to backstop the Hurricanes to their second win in as many days at the time, beating Chicago 2-1 on the road following a 3-1 win over New Jersey the night before.
Against the defending Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks, Lack fell three seconds short of posting his seventh career shutout.
As the Hurricanes currently sit at 16-17-5, both Lack and Cam Ward have helped to backstop Carolina to a 6-3-1 record in its last 10 games.
Lack is 4-0-1 in his last five appearances following a 1-6-1 start to the season.
Head coach Bill Peters appreciates the timing of it all coming together, heading into the latter half of the season.
“I sleep better at night – they’re both playin’ better,” Peters said of his netminders.
“The guys are playin’ better in front of them which helps. Communication between the D and forwards and the D and the goalies – there’s more talk on the ice, more energy. It’s goin’ in the right direction and goaltenders have been a big part of that.”
As much as Lack has made a push to challenge to earn more starts, Peters is not the only one who gets a say.
“I know they have their process, the goalie union,” Peters said regarding how he interacts with the netminders under the guidance of goaltending coach David Marcoux.
“I stay out of it,” Peters said with a smile.
“I give ‘em my two cents, they scoff at me, and I walk away. That’s the way it works. I don’t have the union card, so I don’t have any credibility, I don’t have any street cred with the goalies. I give ‘em my two cents, I tell them what I want, and they find a way to make it work.”
As far as what Lack as has provided, the coach indicated that everyone is only seeing a glimpse of the true Eddie Lack and what he can provide the Hurricanes in the future.
“I think he’s settled in a little bit,” Peters said.
“I think he’s worked very hard in his time here and I think we’ve come to a common ground on how we want him to play. We want him to play big. He’s a big man. We don’t want him to be deep, but he’s gotta be at a depth that he’s comfortable and he can makes saves and be there for the second and third shot. He’s a young guy as far as NHL experience goes and he’s gonna get better and better as we go. We’re not gonna know until the end of the year exactly what we have with Eddie Lack. It’s gonna take the full year, it really is.”
Peters also knows that the 27-year-old Swede wants to get more regular starts which he’s forced the coach to seriously consider, even while Ward has shown recent steady play as well.
“Almost halfway and the trend is goin’ upwards,” Peters pointed out of Lack’s recent play which earned him the start against Washington.
“He’s not at all very happy where he’s at with his numbers. His numbers are gonna get better as long as we continue to play well in front of him. And for the longest time when Eddie was in net, we didn’t score goals either, so that’s tough too. Now that we’re startin’ to score a bit more, we wanna tighten up, get good goaltending, and see where it takes us.”