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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.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81