Cam Ward Keeps Hope Alive: Hurricanes 1, Sabres 0

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 15: Goalie Cam Ward #30 of the Carolina Hurricanes makes a pad save on a shot by Cody McCormick #8 of the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena on March 15, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Cam Ward made 40 saves while earning his third shutout of the season and the Carolina Hurricanes battled to a vital 1-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night at the HSBC. 

The win moves the Hurricanes within two points of the eighth place Sabres and within four points of the seventh place New York Rangers, who beat the New York Islanders, 6-3.

Brandon Sutter scored the only goal of the game with just 43 seconds left in the first period when he put back the rebound of a Derek Joslin shot from the point.  Chad LaRose picked up the secondary assist.

It was an intense, dramatic game with several close chances on both ends of the rink.  Ryan Miller made 32 saves on 33 shots for the home team.

The Hurricanes outhit the Sabres, 25-11.  This was Buffalo's 10th game in 14 nights and they were not necessarily at their best.  But the Hurricanes, led by their goalie, did what needed to be done.

The team will return to Raleigh for the second game of another back-to-back and another very important match, this time against the Toronto Maple Leafs.  

Quick Thoughts and Stats:

  • Cam Ward was spectacular at times and had perfect rebound control in this game.  Either he swallowed the puck up or guided it out of harm's way. The Canes defense also did a good job of allowing very few wide open chances against him.
  • The Canes were 0-5 on the powerplay, and again, it did not look very pretty for the most part.  The team seemed content with trying to put shots on net from the point, but more often than not, those shots were blocked.  They managed a total of five shots on goal in the 10 minutes of man advantage time.  In case you were counting, that is 0 for 26 and 3 goals in their last 67 chances.
  • Whoever would have dreamed that defense-minded Tim Gleason and Jay Harrison would be paired up together on the point of a powerplay? They both have to be loving this.
  • Buffalo blocked 21 shots to 10 for Carolina.  Bryan Allen had a team high four. 
  • While the powerplay units are having trouble, the penalty killers are on top of their respective games.  They killed off three huge penalties, including two in the third period.  The Canes have allowed only one powerplay goal in the last seven games and they have 35 kills in their last 38 attempts.
  • Give the refs credit for at least being tough, if nothing else.  The Good? One took a high stick from a Buffalo player which drew blood, but he never missed a shift as he had it worked on during a TV timeout.  There was another time Thomas Vanek got hit high with a puck and a ref was going to call a high stick on Carolina, but the crew got together and corrected the call.  The Bad: There was another time Jeff Skinner almost had his head taken off by a high stick, and there was no call.  Just another day in the life of an NHL ref.
  • Erik Cole had a couple of prime chances on two different breakaways, but came up short. 
  • Tuomo Ruutu and Cole led the way with five hits each.
  • Jeff Skinner had a team high six shots on goal and really looked active in this game.  He drew two penalties and probably could have drawn two more, the previously mentioned high stick and a nasty crosscheck away from the puck.  Sometimes the refs call interference, sometimes they don't.
  • The fourth line of Drayson Bowman, Jerome Samson, and Patrick Dwyer looked good.  Bowman had 4:46 of ice time, Samson had 5:48. 

post game interviews:

Paul Maurice 3 15 11

Cam Ward 3 15 11

Brandon Sutter 3 15 11

Eric Staal 3 15 11

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