The playoffs may still look like a long shot for the sagging Vancouver Canucks, but dismissing them outright proved to be a mistake on Wednesday night at the MTS Centre.
Bouncing off their catastrophic and panic-inducing -- at least among their fans -- Monday-night collapse against the New York Islanders, two of the most beleaguered Canucks led the way to a 3-2 shootout victory over the Winnipeg Jets.
Goalie Eddie Lack made 32 saves after a horrible night Monday and right-winger Alexandre Burrows scored his first two goals of the season to give the Canucks some life after Monday's debacle.
Vancouver passed the Jets in the standings, reaching 70 points to Winnipeg's 69 after the three-point night. The Canucks trail the eighth-place Dallas Stars by four points.
"It was important for me for sure," Lack said after his 11th win of the season. "I just needed a big bounce-back game and I'm really happy we got the win."
Lack grinned when asked if he heard the haranguing by the MTS Centre fans on Wednesday.
"I'm kind of used to it by now," he smirked, undoubtedly referring to some of what he's heard at home lately.
Did the former Moose goalie actually believe Winnipeg fans would cheer against him?
"Yeah, I think so," he smiled. "But in my mind, they were cheering for me."
After allowing six goals in the third period on Monday night, Lack said his focus actually came easy on Wednesday.
"No. It was probably easier to get ready after a game like that," he said. "I always want to prove myself and play better and it was an important game.
"I'd rather be without that (Monday) third period but what's important is for me to come back and show the team they can trust me."
Lack stopped Devin Setoguchi, Andrew Ladd and Olli Jokinen in the shootout and was the beneficiary of Evander Kane's high and wide penalty shot in the second period.
"On Jokinen's, I thought he had me because I was thinking glove, glove, glove and then he kind of faked me and I thought he had me, but fortunate for me he missed the net," Lack said.
Vancouver's key performer in the 65 minutes, Burrows, did not miss the net when he got his openings on Wednesday.
The former Moose skater had gone 35 games without a single goal this season. He missed the first 12 games of the season because of foot injury and 20 more at mid-season because of a broken jaw.
"It's something I've never experienced for that long," he said. "It's tough to put into words. You put in the work and put in the effort on and off the ice, prepare the right way and conduct yourself the right way and try to stay positive.
"You feel like you're letting the team down, but you just have to keep believing in yourself and keep pushing and working hard and that's how you get out of it."
Burrows said after the game one result has no bearing on the tempest surrounding the team, including speculation that coach John Tortorella's job may be in jeopardy because of the slide that has seen Vancouver lose 12 of 15 games since Jan. 27.
"That's outside stuff that we don't really control," Burrows said. "Inside the locker-room it's 20, 22 guys that want to get into the playoffs. We're on the outside looking in right now and we know the reality of it. We have to find ways to win games. All the extra, it's on the outside and it's outside of our control."