RALEIGH, N.C. — Cam Ward has made many, many saves in his NHL career. Still, he can appreciate a good one.
Ward stopped 35 shots in the Carolina Hurricane’s 4-1 over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night, with none more entertaining than his desperation stick save against Colin Greening in the first period.
“I had goose bumps after that one,” Ward said. “We play this game for a living but when you make a save like that, I turn into a little kid. It also was a sigh of relief to get that save because that was a big part of the game in the first period.”
Ward had already given up a rebound goal to Jason Spezza 1:07 into the game when he stopped Greening to keep it close for Carolina, who scored three times in the second to take command.
Ward said his confidence grew immensely playing on consecutive days for the first time this season. He missed 10 games with a lower-body injury and returned to the lineup on Nov. 18.
Eric Staal had a goal and two assists, and Patrick Dwyer, Tuomo Ruutu and rookie Elias Lindholm each scored for the Hurricanes, who have won 10 of 11 at home against Ottawa. Staal scored an empty-net goal with 2:29 left.
With both teams playing the second of back-to-back games, it was visiting Ottawa which jumped out early on Spezza’s 10th of the season
But Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said his team didn’t play hard enough to win.
“We don’t play long enough to consistently win,” MacLean said. “A three-minute span in the second period and we end up making two costly errors that were self-inflicted. One ends up in our net and the other ends up in penalty, then ends up in our net.
Dwyer got his third goal of the season with a stinging shot inside the upper far post from the right circle at 3:10 to tie it.
Three minutes later Ruutu gave Carolina a 2-1 lead, and midway through the period Lindholm, a rookie, scored on the power play for the Hurricanes.
Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner was solid except for the 6-minute stretch in the second period, finishing with 33 saves.
We have to find the answer to why we can’t be aggressive three periods a game,” Lehner said. “They scored three good ones and we couldn’t catch up. The factor on the last two was that they had too much time. The first one was a pretty good goal and the last two they had a lot of time.”
NOTES — Carolina LW Jirii Tlusty played his 300th NHL game. … Staal extended his point streak to six games. … Ottawa C Mika Zibanejad has three points (1g, 2a) in his last three games. … The Senators played their 1,600th game in franchise history.