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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Ward Named NHL Player of the Month

Wednesday, 04.01.2009 / 1:07 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Ward Named NHL Player of the Month
After a flurry of player of the week awards, the NHL today named Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward as its First Star of the Month.
Paul Branecky
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During the month of March, which was stellar for both Ward and the entire team, the netminder posted a 10-1-2 record, a 1.98 goals-against average and .938 save percentage.

“It’s a great honor and it’s definitely nice to be recognized,” said Ward. “When you look at it, the most important thing is winning hockey games, and we’ve been able to get ourselves on a roll and set ourselves up for hopefully a playoff position.”

Update: This is just the third time in franchise history that a player has earned such an honor.  Eric Staal won it in October of 2005, while Mike Rogers of the Hartford Whalers took one home in December of 1980.

During March, Ward was among the league’s “stars of the week” two weeks in a row, winning the third star award last week and the first star prior to that. He also won another third star award back in early January.

The pile-up of awards is a tribute to the goaltender’s improved consistency, which is undoubtedly at the best it has been since the 2006 playoffs, and possibly the best of his career.

“I’d like to think so,” said Ward. “I’ve got to credit the team for playing a lot better defensively in front of me, and I’ve gotten a lot of help with (Goaltending Coach) Tom Barrasso, and obviously the opportunity to play by Paul Maurice. I’m enjoying that opportunity and trying to make the best of it.”

Ward has played in 24 consecutive games, which is a career high that may not end anytime soon. Clearly, he isn’t showing signs of fatigue.

“We’ve been playing a lot of hockey,” he said. “I think if you look at the schedule – it’s my fourth year and this is the busiest schedule that we’ve had. With that being said, the coaching staff has done an excellent job of giving us time off in between games to let us rest mentally and keep us sharp.”

Is he back to where he was when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2006?

“I’d like to think that I’m at a better level,” said Ward. “I’d like to think that I’m a better goaltender than I was in ’06, and I think I have improved. I would have to give a lot of credit to Tom Barrasso, who had definitely been by my side for the ups and downs and has made me a better goaltender today.”

Most importantly for the Hurricanes, Ward seems to have rediscovered that form just in time to give himself and his team a chance for more honors going forward.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
8 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
9 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
10 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
11 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61