Devils vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Ward Passes Early Test

Saturday, 04.3.2010 / 11:58 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Ward Passes Early Test
Paul Branecky
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The Hurricanes and Cam Ward felt it was important for the goaltender to play again this season, if only to test out his injured back. So far, so good.

Ward has won both games since his return, posting a 1.00 goals-against average and a .968 save percentage along the way. After taking a breather for the Canes’ most recent game in Ottawa Thursday night, he will again get the start tonight against the New Jersey Devils at the RBC Center.

”I was really, really impressed with the way he was able to get right to his game, and that’s no easy thing to do,” said coach Paul Maurice. “With any player, most injuries even when they come back it’s there mentally in their head that they don’t want to have a reoccurrence and sometimes it affects those first two or three games, so that was really good sign for him to block that out and compete the way he did.”

Besides benefiting from his strong performance on the ice, the team has also taken a great deal of comfort in the fact that Ward has not experienced any further problems with his back, which has been an issue on and off all season. Getting the goaltender healthy for next season remains a top priority, and the team remains cautious.

“If there had been any (problems), even in the slightest, we would have shut him right down, so there hasn’t been any reoccurrence,” said Maurice.

The Hurricanes have long needed every single point they could get in the standings, which made the shootout loss in Ottawa so damaging. The team earned five out of a possible six points in what would be a stellar road trip under any other circumstances, but the manner in which they dropped the final point, giving up a goal with 8 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, stings to be sure.

“If we win that game, I’m not concerned about the emotional level coming into this game at all, but it is a concern right now,” admitted Maurice. “We had some key players on the ice (for the tying goal), and to have that happen … we’ve got to find a way to wind that back up.”

If the Hurricanes have an advantage tonight, it’s that the Devils suffered a last-gasp loss very similar to Carolina’s on Friday while the Hurricanes enjoyed a day off. Starting goaltender Martin Brodeur took the loss for New Jersey, making it more likely that the Canes will face backup Yann Danis tonight. Of course, that is never a given, with Brodeur starting 71 of a possible 77 games this year.


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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 68 20 27 -13 47
J. Faulk 73 14 32 -18 46
E. Lindholm 72 16 20 -21 36
J. Skinner 68 18 12 -22 30
V. Rask 71 11 19 -12 30
R. Nash 67 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 69 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 73 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 45 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 37 4 15 -9 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 19 21 5 .910 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62