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Ward Named NHL Player of the Month

Wednesday, 04.1.2009 / 1:07 PM ET / 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.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 54 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 52 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 54 12 19 8 31
K. Versteeg 53 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 54 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 54 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 47 7 12 0 19
J. Nordstrom 43 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 54 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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