The Carolina Hurricanes generated chances early but ultimately put 28 shots on rookie goalie Aaron Dell through over two periods without finding twine. This is a narrative that is all too familiar to this team.
This story, though, ended differently.
The Hurricanes finally found the back of the net when Joakim Nordstrom buried his own rebound with just over 9:00 minutes left in the third. Nordstrom's first goal of the year was all the Canes needed, and Cam Ward did the rest, pitching a 1-0 shutout against the San Jose Sharks in front of 8,932 at PNC Arena on Tuesday. It was the Canes' first shutout of the season, Ward's first since a 1-0 win over the Avalanche last October, and the team's first since Eddie Lack shut out the Blackhawks in January.
The "TSA" line comprising Teuvo Teravainen, Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho that performed so well on Saturday night looked just as hot tonight. While they didn't generate any points, they created plenty of great scoring chances. Staal has an innate ability to tie lines together unlike any other center on this team. His unique combination of size and skill allows him to complement any different pair of wingers very well. In many ways, Jordan Staal is the best hockey player on this team; it's easy as a fan to take that for granted.
Cam Ward continued to build on his impressive string of starts as he stopped all 22 of the shots he faced. Ward recorded his first ever 1-0 shutout at home and Carolina's first 1-0 shutout at PNC since Justin Peters blanked the Islanders on November 7th, 2013. Additionally:
Ward's performance was outstanding as he improved to 6-1-0 in his career against San Jose. Is it safe to say that he has solidified himself as Carolina's number one goalie? (Funny you should ask; there's a column about just this coming out tomorrow.)
The Hurricanes have allowed just one goal in their last 2 games, both of which went in the win column. These kinds of performances are exactly what the Canes needed out of this five game home stand. They're back to within one game of hockey .500 and can get there with a win over the Canadiens on Friday night, who dropped an overtime decision to the Panthers tonight.
Rank the Performances
Here's your chance to weigh in on how you think the team performed tonight. Upvote the players you think played well and downvote the one's who didn't.