The Carolina Hurricanes are off to a rough start in the 2013 season, and much of that has to do with the disappointing performance of goaltender Cam Ward. Through the team’s first five games, Ward has just one win, three losses and an abysmal 4.50 GAA.
When the lockout ended and a shortened schedule was announced, many assumed that goaltenders who normally start the bulk of their teams’ games would have an advantage. So far, for Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens have proven that belief true, while Ward has been the exception to the rule. Only one other goaltender (Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings) has allowed as many goals as Ward has, and the ‘Canes netminder’s GAA is 38th in the league among players meeting the minimum requirements.
The Hurricanes offense hasn’t exactly helped Ward out every night – they managed just one goal in each of his two losses to start the season and their power play has gone 0-for-6 twice. The amount of shots Ward is facing so far isn’t any different than normal, which makes his poor performance so far even more puzzling. Last season Ward started 68 games, winning 30 of them and posting a 2.74 GAA. The team has the offensive talent in place to make the playoffs, but if Ward’s play doesn’t improve soon, he could see Dan Ellis taking more starts away from him. Keep in mind that after the last lockout, the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup, with Ward going 14-8-2 during the regular season and then winning the Conn Smythe Trophy for his excellent postseason play.