For the third consecutive season, goaltender Eddie Lack is entering the season as one of the better backup goaltenders in the league but has a veteran starter who he’ll have to beat out if he wants the No. 1 job. If style points count for anything, Lack might have gotten himself a slight lead on Hurricanes starter Cam Ward to start the pre-season.
Early in the second frame of Carolina’s pre-season opener against the Washington Capitals, Lack was caught moving the opposite direction on a beautiful pass across the ice by Stanislav Galiev to Jakub Vrana. With Lack out of position, the 19-year-old Vrana patiently pulled the puck across the crease and opened up the entire right side of the goal.
But with nothing but daylight to slide the puck into, Lack stretched out his massive 6-foot-4 frame and got his left leg out in time to stifle Vrana’s attempt:
The contest was Lack’s first time suiting up in game action for the Hurricanes, and to say he impressed would be an understatement. Beyond his incredible toe save, Lack also managed to turn aside all 22 shots he faced in 40 minutes of work.
Regardless of how Lack plays, it’s unlikely he unseats Ward as Carolina’s starting netminder from the outset of the season, but there’s a possibility Lack could find himself getting the bulk of the starts as the Hurricanes move deeper into the season.
Lack and Ward are two of 33 netminders to play more than 3,000 minutes at 5-on-5 over the past two seasons, but Lack’s numbers at even strength are much better than Ward’s. In 81 games, Ward has a save percentage of .915 at 5-on-5, while Lack has posted a .923 SP in 82 games. Even shorthanded, Lack’s .883 SP is better than Ward’s .857. At all strengths, Lack has a .917 SP over the past two seasons, while Ward sits at .906.