Goaltender Cam Ward is coming off a miserable performance in the
Carolina Hurricanes’ most lopsided defeat in three years.
A start in Montreal might be what he needs to get back on
Ward looks to continue his dominance at the Bell Centre on
Saturday night when the Hurricanes face a Canadiens team hoping to
build on a couple of big wins.
Carolina (8-8-0) entered Thursday’s home game against
Philadelphia having won two in a row by a combined 10-3 score, but
any sense of satisfaction quickly disappeared with an 8-1 loss. The
Hurricanes fell behind 3-0 less than 2 minutes into the second
period and allowed four third-period goals in their most lopsided
defeat since an 8-1 loss at Buffalo on Dec. 1, 2007.
“Sometimes when you’re playing well and goals are coming easily,
you start thinking it’s easy,” Carolina forward Tom Kostopoulos
said. “I think we forgot how hard it is to win.”
Ward allowed four goals and stopped nine shots before being
pulled midway through the second period. The six-year veteran, who
has started all but two games this season, posted a 1.67
goals-against average in winning his previous three games at the
Ward has enjoyed similar success at the Bell Centre, where is
6-0-1 with a 1.55 GAA, his best record at any opponents’ arena
where he has appeared more than once. In his lone game at Montreal
last season, he stopped 34 shots in a 2-1 victory March 31.
Carolina went 2-1-1 against the Canadiens in 2009-10, with Ward
going 2-1-0 with a 2.78 GAA and captain Eric Staal recording four
goals and two assists.
While Ward is trying to put a forgettable effort behind him,
Montreal goalie Carey Price has been instrumental in his team’s
last two wins.
After losing three of four last week, the first-place Canadiens
(10-5-1) defeated Northwest Division-leading Vancouver 2-0 on
Tuesday and beat Boston 3-1 on Thursday.
Brian Gionta and rookie P.K. Subban scored with the man
advantage in the most recent victory, making Montreal the first
team this season to score two power-play goals in a game against
the Bruins, the top-ranked penalty-killing team in the league.
Subban’s goal was the first of his career.
“Beating two top teams like Vancouver and Boston – especially
Boston – is great,” said Price, who made 34 saves Thursday.
Price, who has started all but one game this season, has stopped
68 of 69 shots in the last two contests.
“The guys are playing well – it’s not me,” Price told the
Canadiens’ official website. “That was a perfect team game. It’s
the guys who are playing well right now. I’m just a small part of
Price went 1-1-0 with a 1.94 GAA in two games against the
Hurricanes last season – both at the Bell Centre, where the
Canadiens play their next four.