The Carolina Hurricanes put an end to their losing streak last night and got just what the doctor ordered from goalie Cam Ward, a 35 save shutout. After a scoreless first period, the visitors broke out for two goals in the second and held on the rest of the way to defeat the Maple Leafs, 2-0.
Joe Corvo scored the game's first goal on a powerplay blast at about the 16 minute mark of that decisive second period. Rod Brind'Amour earned an assist as he made a nice play getting the puck to Joni Pitkanen, who served it on a platter for Corvo's deadly one-timer.
With just five seconds left in that period, Matt Cullen stole the puck, found Chad LaRose all alone in front of the net, and number 59 faked out Vesa Toskala and buried the insurance tally.
In the third period, Toronto cranked up the intensity and fired 15 shots at Ward, but the goalie was in "the zone" all night and seemed totally in control as he earned his second shutout of the season as well as the eighth of his career.
Next up for the Canes will be a matchup with the Penguins in Pittsburgh for the second game of their back-to-back set. After that performance, will Cam Ward start again and wait for the All Star break to rest up?
It seemed to be a pretty even game except for Cam Ward. After being outplayed in Buffalo by Ryan Miller, this time the Canes goalie stepped up.
Joe Corvo looked like he lost his best friend after scoring his goal. (or perhaps he pulled a muscle?) There was no typical Corvo fist pump or any goal celebration.
Rod Brind'Amour looked better in this contest, but had a horrible night in the faceoff circle going 5-14, only 36%. Eric Staal was 11-20 for 55%.
The Hurricanes had 34 shots on goal with Justin Williams leading the way with 8.
Dennis Seidenberg led the team with 5 hits while Joni Pitkanen came in second with 3. The coaching staff has been asking number 25 to be more physical, and he also responded with a cross checking penalty.
Tim Gleason led the way with 5 blocked shots while Seidenberg and Pitkanen had 3 each.
Chad LaRose and Tuomo Ruutu had a nice two-on-one break away in the first period and LaRose made a perfect pass to him, but Ruutu hit iron with his shot. Ruutu was also in front of the net, screening the goalie on Corvo's goal. We will give him an unofficial assist for that.
No rest for the weary as the Canes flew to Pittsburgh immediately after the game.