Canes hope Ward returns

Infection by eye sidelined goalie

Staff writerDecember 22, 2010 

The Carolina Hurricanes are hoping goaltender Cam Ward, whose string of starts ended Monday because of an infection, will be able to play Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Ward missed Monday's road game against the Tampa Bay Lightning because of the infection above an eye. Although Ward did dress for the game, Justin Peters started in net as the Lightning won 5-1 to end the Canes' four-game winning streak.

General manager Jim Rutherford said Ward was scheduled to see a dermatologist Tuesday, adding, "We think Cam will be fine in the next day or two."

Ward had started 10 straight games before Monday, notching 45 saves in the Canes' 3-2 shootout win Thursday in Atlanta and then another 43 stops Saturday as Carolina topped the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. Canes coach Paul Maurice said he did not know until the team's morning skate Monday at Tampa's St. Pete Times Forum that Ward would need to be held out of the Lightning game.

Maurice said Ward had a lot of swelling above his eye, saying it was not a rash but an infection.

"His eye was almost closed," he said. "We did not want the [goalie] mask rubbing that area."

Maurice said the swelling had subsided by game time and that Ward was available as a backup.

"The medication was working," he said. "We wanted to be very careful with it. If you catch it early, that's one thing, but it can be serious.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed that he can play Thursday."

Peters allowed five goals on 34 shots, but Maurice said factors other than goaltending led to the loss. He also said he did not expect to make any line changes for Thursday's game.

"I don't want to overreact to one loss," Maurice said. "I liked our first period. I did not like that it came out 2-1 [with the Lightning leading], but I liked most of what we did. Part of the second period got away from us. The game was clearly not good, but I'm not going to overreact.

"We have to be more consistent with our forwards helping our defense, but that's all part of the process of five working as one."

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