Ward, Staal brothers shine in 4-1 win over Leafs

Skinner adds three assists; Ward has 41 saves in road win

calexander@newsobserver.comFebruary 5, 2013 

The first period belonged to Cam Ward.

The second period belonged to the Staal brothers.

The third period began with a power-play goal by Justin Faulk and ended with Ward making one final save. It also ended with the Canes 4-1 winners over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday at the Air Canada Centre.

With Ward making 41 saves, making for a miserable night for Phil Kessel and the Leafs, the Canes evened their record at 4-4. Pat Dwyer had a goal and Jeff Skinner added three assists for Carolina, which fell behind 1-0 in the first period when the Leafs outskated and outshot the Canes.

"Cam was great tonight," Canes coach Kirk Muller said. "He made huge saves and kept us in the game. He got challenged earlier and had fire in his belly. He wanted to prove something to me and it's great, because he's an elite player and goaltender.

"When he plays like he did tonight he's one of the top in the game. He was ready for tonight and showed everyone what a great goaltender he is."

Ward faced 18 shots in the first period. The only goal he allowed was to Matt Frattin, who scored off a rebound to push the Leafs ahead 1-0.

"I felt really comfortable at the start of the game," Ward said. "They were shut out the game before and we expected they would throw a lot of shots at the net. I had to be ready."

Jordan Staal picked a good time to score his first goal with the Canes. Alone in front of Leafs goalie James Reimer, the big center took a pass from Dwyer and popped in the puck for a 1-1 tie in the second period.

"It felt good. It was nice to get a goal to get us going, as well as my first as a Hurricane," Jordan Staal said.

Eric Staal made it 2-1 with a power-play goal midway through the second. His shot went off a Toronto skate and caromed past Reimer for what would be the winning goal. It was Staal's seventh goal of the season, extending his point streak to six games.

The Canes, who have won seven of the last nine games in Toronto, outshot the Leafs 20-5 in the second period.

"We just had a slow start -- except for Wardo," Jordan Staal said. "It was because of Wardo we were still in that one. We found our legs and started skating and we took over for the last two periods."

Dwyer scored in the third as the Canes bounced back from a 5-3 loss Saturday in Philadelphia.

The Canes, shaky on special teams against the Flyers, closed 2-for-4 on the power play while the Leafs were 0-5. Muller made a few tweaks, putting forward Tim Brent at the point -- something the Canes did last season.

The Canes were 4-for-36 on the power play coming into the game.

"We just ran the plays simple," Muller said. "Back to just simplicity, shooting the puck."

The final few minutes of the second were critical. First, the Leafs had a goal disallowed on review when it was determined Tyler Bozak made a kicking motion to knock the puck past Ward. That kept the Canes ahead 2-1.

Then, in the last minute of the period, Leafs defensemen Michael Kostka and Korbinian Holzer both were called for tripping. With a 5-on-3 power play to begin the third, Faulk took a pass from Eric Staal to the right of Reimer and ripped in a shot -- the puck barely crossing the goal line.

Dwyer's goal, his second in two games, came off a Skinner pass and finished it off. Ward had 19 saves in the final period as the Canes killed off a pair of penalties.

But Ward, moving quickly and so positionally sound, was at his best in the first. The Leafs could have led by two or three goals had Ward not made the stops.

"It took a little while to get our legs ... but we really took over in the second period," Ward said. "We were able to get our feet moving and capitalize on some opportunities. It was kind of a role reversal in the second period. They fired all the shots in the first and we did the same in the second."

Jordan Staal has six assists in the first seven games. He added another assist Monday. And now he has a goal.

"Hopefully there will be many more." Jordan Staal said.

Eric and Jordan Staal both were in the starting lineup Monday. They became the first brothers to score in the same game for the Hartford/Carolina franchise since David and Wayne Babych had goals in an April, 5, 1986 game against the Leafs.

Alexander: 919-829-8945

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service