Hurricanes Ward named NHLs second star for last week

Goaltender was 3-0 with .964 save percentage, 1.01 goals-against average

Eamon Queeney—The North State Journal
Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward (30) blocks a shot in the first period of the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens at PNC Arena in Raleigh

RALEIGH — A month ago the Carolina Hurricanes were coming off a 4-2 win that saw Eddie Lack backstop the team to its first win of the season. On the bench was Cam Ward, owner of an .852 save percentage and no wins.What a difference a month makes.Ward was named the NHL’s second star for last week on Monday, having allowed just three goals in home wins over San Jose, Montreal and Winnipeg. Los Angeles’ Jeff Carter (four goals — including three game-winners — and two assists in four games) was the week’s first star, and Washington center Nicklas Backstrom (four goals, four assists in four games) was the third star.”When you hear your name get the second star for the NHL, it’s great to get recognized,” Ward said. “But any goaltender will tell you you can’t do it without your teammates. So I think it’s a compliment to the team, to be honest with you. For the way that we’re playing, the way that we’re doing things. I’m excited and enjoying it.”In the three victories Ward stopped 81 of 84 shots he faced (.964 save percentage) with a 1.01 goals-against average. His 1-0 win over the Sharks Nov. 15 was his first shutout since Oct. 21, 2015, and the 24th of his career.The Hurricanes are currently riding a four-game winning streak — all with Ward in net — and have re-entered the playoff picture at 7-6-4.”I think the wins validate the hard work,” Ward said. “That’s essentially why we play the game. To be able to get above .500 and be where we’re at right now, we’re very pleased.”Ward was quick to credit the team in front of him, particularly the defense, for his play. Carolina coach Bill Peters asserted even a month ago that Ward’s play would pick up when the team in front of him improved, and that’s proved prophetic.”He’s real level-headed and real steady Eddie as far as that goes,” Peters said of Ward’s even-tempered attitude. “I think, just for us, the big breakdowns have kind of became fewer and further between, and that’s really helped us.”With his recent run, Ward has climbed out of his early season hole and is 6-4-3 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. He has started 11 of Carolina’s past 12 games and has allowed two goals or fewer in all but three of those outings.Peters said Ward would start again Tuesday in Toronto, his seventh straight start.”I’m excited about what we’re doing here as a group and this roll that we’re on,” Ward said. “I just want to continue doing what we’re doing. It’s nice to get recognized, but mostly I’m just excited about what’s taking place with this group.”