Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward continues to make a strong case for himself to represent the Canes in next month's All Star game as the netminder earned his second shutout of the season while backstopping his team to a 4-0 whitewashing of the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night at Scotiabank Place.
Ward has been nothing short of outstanding since the birth of his son near the end of November and has compiled two shutouts, a .945 save percentage, and a GAA of less than 1.90 over the 16 game stretch. He has stopped 501 of the 530 shots he's faced during that period.
Zach Boychuk got the party started in this contest as he scored on a wraparound attempt 9:24 into the game. The winger, who was recalled from Charlotte six games ago, wasn't finished though as he took a nice feed from Tuomo Ruutu and roofed his next shot over goalie, Brian Elliott, making it 2-0 just 13:12 into the first period.
The goal was a powerplay tally and the team finished 1-3 with the man advantage for the night.
The Hurricanes did a much better job of controlling the flow of this game than they did the previous game in Toronto, as they outshot the Sens in the first two periods, 10-8 and 12-11. They were also much more disciplined than in recent games as they only committed four minor penalties, (not counting a fighting major to Ryan Carter), including a bench minor for two many men on the ice.
Erik Cole scored the game's third goal late in the second period on a rush as he put a shot on net, trying to force a rebound-pass to Sergei Samsonov. Elliott kicked out the rebound as planned, but the puck hit Mike Fisher's skate and bounced into the net, giving Cole the unassisted score.
Patrick Dwyer closed out the scoring at 4:32 into the third period as he stole the puck and beat Elliott shortside with a nicely placed shot.
The team will have a couple of days at home to prepare for a New Year's Day contest with the New Jersey Devils at the RBC at 7 p.m.
Quick Thoughts and Stats:
- The Canes played the best game of team defense that they have in awhile. The game was well in hand before they allowed 18 shots in the third period. Still, they need to cut down on those shots as they allow an average of more than 34 a game which is tied for last in the NHL.
- Zach Boychuk is earning more and more playing time in the top nine, as well as powerplay time. He's had an excellent showing in the past two games and if he keeps this up, he's going to make it very difficult to send him back to Charlotte when/if the time comes.
- The team had 31 shots on goal led by Erik Cole with eight. Boychuk was next in line with five.
- Eric Staal won 53% of his faceoffs. The rest of the team didn't fare as well as the group finished at 41%.
- Jay Harrison had a team high four hits, Ian White had a team high three blocked shots, and Tim Gleason led the way with over 25 minutes of ice time.
- The Canes are now alone in ninth place in the conference, just four points out of a playoff spot.