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Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Ward Returns in Net vs. Bruins

Monday, 11.18.2013 / 12:30 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Ward Returns in Net vs. Bruins
Cam Ward will get the starting nod in net for the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night against the Boston Bruins.
Cam Ward will get the starting nod in net for the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night against the Boston Bruins, a week after returning to practice with the team.

Michael Smith
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Tonight’s game will mark Ward’s first appearance since Oct. 24 in Minnesota. Just over four minutes into that contest, Ward left the game with a lower-body injury after outstretching his leg to make a save on a Wild rush.

“Cam is ready to go. It’s great news, and we’re excited for him to be healthy again,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “It’s a great opportunity for him, so he’s got the start tonight.”

Ward has logged 25 career games against the Bruins, notching a 12-11-2 record with three shutouts, a 2.60 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. In 2011-12, Ward backstopped the Canes to a sweep of their season series with Boston; he made 139 saves on 144 shots (.965 save percentage), including a 47-save shutout to complete the sweep.

The Canes will need that sort of effort in net tonight, as they are facing a 12-6-1 Bruins squad and are without Alexander Semin (upper body) and Jeff Skinner (upper body), two elite goal-scorers.

“They’re pretty consistent There are no surprises with Boston. They’re going to come in and play that grinding style,” Muller said. “It’s important that we really focus on our game and keep a high tempo and quick pace for 60 minutes to beat a good hockey club like Boston.”

With Ward back in the crease, the Canes won’t alter their game plan that resulted in a five-game point streak at home, with victories over top teams like the Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks.

“We’re hard to play against right now. We’ve taken a lot of pride in goals against. We’re not giving up much, and we’re sticking to the game plan. We’re playing a good, solid 60 minutes, and we’ve got everyone on board,” Muller said. “We’re not scoring a lot, but we’re not giving up much. The result gives us a chance to pick up some points each night.”

In part, the Canes can attribute that success to being able to roll four forward lines consistently, even despite the injuries that have popped up throughout the lineup. Tonight, those lines will take on a bit of a different look.

With Semin out, Tuomo Ruutu and Drayson Bowman surrounded Eric Staal on the first line. The second line remained intact, and we will likely see Jiri Tlusty and Chris Terry with Riley Nash in the middle on the third line.

Radek Dvorak will draw back into the lineup after missing the last two games with a lower-body injury. He will skate on the fourth line with Manny Malhotra centering and likely Mike Komisarek on the opposite wing.

Defenseman Jay Harrison did not skate this morning and will not play. Tim Gleason should slide back to the left side with Ryan Murphy pairing on the right.

“We’re able to throw four lines out, and everyone’s working,” Muller said. “When you’ve got 20 guys committed to the game plan, you give yourself a chance to win every night. That’s what we’ve been able to do.”

Having just turned 25 years old in September, Jordan Staal will play in his 500th career NHL game tonight. In 25 career games against the Bruins, he’s recorded 17 points (4g, 13a). This season, he ranks tied for third on the team in goals (3).



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 41 15 13 -8 28
J. Faulk 46 8 18 -14 26
J. Skinner 41 10 9 -7 19
E. Lindholm 46 9 10 -10 19
R. Nash 46 7 12 -4 19
J. Tlusty 39 11 7 -12 18
N. Gerbe 42 4 13 -2 17
V. Rask 46 6 9 -9 15
A. Sekera 44 1 14 -8 15
C. Terry 33 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 5 8 2 .916 2.32
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45