Hurricanes Notebook

Canes' Cam Ward seeks improvement

Hurricanes goaltender expects better from himself

csmith@newsobserver.comJanuary 23, 2013 

— While the setting changed for the Carolina Hurricanes, much remained the same. By the 8-minute, 24-second mark in the first period Tuesday, Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward had given up two goals on just five shots. The Tampa Bay Lightning never trailed in a 4-1 win.

After giving up four goals in the first period against the Panthers in the season opener, Ward was pulled for backup Dan Ellis, but was given the start against the Lightning and gave up four goals again, this time over three periods.

“Well, we had a lockout for half a season and we had a week-long training camp,” Ward said. “I’m doing the best with the time that I’ve got. Obviously I don’t go into games hoping to get scored on. Judging by my tone, I’m obviously not happy with it, but I’m not going to sit here and dwell on it.”

In his first two starts last season against the Lightning and New Jersey Devils, Ward gave up four-plus goals in both games. This season, Ward has a .789 save percentage and is giving up a goal every 4.75 shots taken against him after two games.

“They make a good tip on the first goal and in the third period there was a bunch of traffic in front,” Ward said. “But that’s just stuff that you’ve got to deal with. I’ve got to be better and I know that.

“I expect greatness out of myself and I’m working on it.”

Blast from the past: Zach Boychuk went from the first line on opening night to a healthy scratch in game No. 2. According to veteran Hurricanes radio broadcaster Chuck Kaiton – who called his 2,923rd NHL game on Tuesday – that’s not the first time in franchise history a player has fallen so far, so fast.

During the Hartford Whalers’ first NHL season in 1979-80, Kaiton recalls Greg Carroll, a waiver draft pick from the Detroit Red Wings, starting the season on the top line and becoming a healthy scratch in the second game.

Killing three birds with one stone: On the lone goal the Hurricanes scored, both Alexander Semin and Jordan Staal, two of Carolina’s major offseason additions, tallied their first points with the team, assisting Jeff Skinner’s first goal of the season.

That goal was also the first Canes power-play goal of the season, ending a 0-for-7 drought in man-advantage opportunities.

“We were moving it well and there are a lot of good players out there,” Jordan Staal said. “It was nice to get that first point, but I still think I could have done better myself. It’s a start and it was fun playing in front of that crowd.”

Tailwinds: The Hurricanes have allowed four or more goals in 10 of their past 14 games against Tampa Bay. … The Hurricanes are 3-7-4 in home openers in North Carolina and have scored a total of two goals in their past four PNC Arena openers.

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