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Staal scores twice as Ward tames Penguins

Oct 6, 2007 - 3:45 AM
RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Cam Ward found a way to stifle the Pittsburgh Penguins' potent offense.

Ward made 33 saves and Eric Staal scored a pair of goals as the Carolina Hurricanes spoiled the Penguins' season opener Friday with a 4-1 victory.

With a group of forwards that includes reigning Art Ross Trophy winner Sidney Crosby and 2007 Calder Trophy recipient Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh nearly was blanked by Ward, who came within 3:23 of posting his third career shutout when former Hurricane Mark Recchi cashed in on a power play for the Penguins' lone goal.

"We had our chances," Crosby said. "(Ward) was able to hold it down for a bit while they gained some momentum."

"Ward was really good," Penguins coach Michel Therrien added. "He made some key saves."

Prior to the tally, Pittsburgh came closest to scoring just two minutes into the game, when Erik Christensen's shot rang off the goalpost. Ward was sensational thereafter, turning aside nine shots in the first period, 10 in the second and 14 in the third.

"I felt really good, really comfortable," said Ward, who also credited his defense. "Everybody was battling and competing. Anytime you see that, you want to do the same for your teammates."

The 23-year-old Ward made his best saves late in the second session, stopping 2007 Calder Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin twice with his right pad on the same breakaway opportunity. He also denied Maxime Talbot on a solo rush with 6 1/2 minutes remaining in the third.

"It's just a matter of preparing yourself for every shot," Ward said. "You've got to be mentally sharp for any situation that may arise. I'm seeing the puck well."

Staal opened the scoring at 7:08 of the first period. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped defenseman Tim Gleason's blast from above the left faceoff circle but could not control the rebound, which Staal fired into the net from the right circle for his second goal of the season.

"He's been strong," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "He came into camp in great shape, and that puts you in the right direction for having success. He certainly is, I think, showing that he worked hard this summer by the way he's playing the game."

Less than seven minutes later, Staal doubled Carolina's lead. After grabbing the puck out of mid-air just inside the blue line, the 2003 second overall pick skated into the right circle and attempted a backhand pass to Jeff Hamilton in front of the net.

The puck instead caromed off the left skate of defenseman Brooks Orpik and past Fleury at 13:21, giving the Hurricanes a 2-0 advantage.

"I was obviously lucky on the second one, and I was in the right place for the first one," Staal said. "You've got to be in the right areas. I'll take them, for sure."

Scoring three times in his first two games definitely is a confidence booster for Staal.

"I know I can score," he said. "It's a matter of keeping it going. ... I'm feeling really good on the ice. I've got my legs underneath. It's a good feeling, confidence-wise."

Andrew Ladd and Hamilton tallied 3:24 apart late in the second for a 4-0 cushion.

Ladd, who was selected fourth overall in the 2004 draft, gathered a loose puck on the doorstep and lifted it under the crossbar with 5:49 remaining in the middle session. On the power play, Hamilton unleashed a one-timer from the right point that found its way through traffic and by Fleury for his first goal of the campaign.

"A lot of times, you throw the puck at the net and good things happen," said Hamilton, who scored 18 of his previous 20 career goals last season with Chicago. "A lot of times when you work hard, you get lucky. That was the case tonight."

"I've really liked what I've seen in Jeff," Laviolette said. "He wants to shoot the puck, and that makes him a key on the power play."

Hamilton added two assists for Carolina, which begins a season-high six-game road trip Saturday at Washington.

"We did it the right way tonight, from Cam Ward out," Hamilton said. "Our defense played unbelievably."

Fleury finished with 22 saves over two periods before being replaced for the Penguins, who fell to 16-18-6 in season openers.

"It definitely wasn't the way I wanted to get (the season) started," Fleury said. "It was a little bit bad luck, but also some mistakes on my side."

Dany Sabourin played the third session for Pittsburgh, stopping all seven shots he faced.

"I decided to take (Fleury) out because we have back-to-back games, and I was trying to change momentum in the game," said Therrien, whose club hosts Anaheim on Saturday.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 1 1
    CAROLINA 2 2 0 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 2 (TIM GLEASON, JEFF HAMILTON) 7:08
    CAR - ERIC STAAL 3 (ERIK COLE, JEFF HAMILTON) 13:21
    2ND PRD: CAR - ANDREW LADD 1 (JUSTIN WILLIAMS, DENNIS SEIDENBERG)
    14:11
    CAR - (PP) JEFF HAMILTON 1 (ROD BRIND'A

    Oct 5 9:29 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 1
    CAROLINA 4
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) MARK RECCHI 1 (EVGENI MALKIN, SERGEI GONCHAR)
    16:37

    Penguins vs. HurricanesOct 5 9:26 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 0
    CAROLINA 2 2 4 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 2 (TIM GLEASON, JEFF HAMILTON) 7:08
    CAR - ERIC STAAL 3 (ERIK COLE, JEFF HAMILTON) 13:21
    2ND PRD: CAR - ANDREW LADD 1 (JUSTIN WILLIAMS, DENNIS SEIDENBERG)
    14:11
    CAR - (PP) JEFF HAMILTON 1

    Oct 5 8:37 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    CAROLINA 4
    2ND PRD: CAR - (PP) JEFF HAMILTON 1 (ROD BRIND'AMOUR, RAY WHITNEY)
    17:35

    Penguins vs. HurricanesOct 5 8:35 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    CAROLINA 3
    2ND PRD: CAR - ANDREW LADD 1 (JUSTIN WILLIAMS, DENNIS SEIDENBERG)
    14:11

    Penguins vs. HurricanesOct 5 8:27 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0
    CAROLINA 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 2 (TIM GLEASON, JEFF HAMILTON) 7:08
    CAR - JEFF HAMILTON 1 (ERIC STAAL, ERIK COLE) 13:21
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PIT 9 9
    CAR 10

    Oct 5 7:43 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    CAROLINA 2
    1ST PRD: CAR - JEFF HAMILTON 1 (ERIC STAAL, ERIK COLE) 13:21

    Penguins vs. HurricanesOct 5 7:34 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    CAROLINA 1
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 1 (TIM GLEASON, JEFF HAMILTON) 7:08

    Penguins vs. HurricanesOct 5 7:19 PM
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    jasonbondshow Added 5 roots

    Penguins vs. HurricanesOct 5 2:13 PM
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    pclifton86 Added 5 roots

    Penguins vs. HurricanesOct 5 12:16 PM
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    ekabrazi Added 5 roots

    Penguins vs. HurricanesOct 5 11:23 AM