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Devils @ Carolina OGT: 3pm NBC

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Go Devils! They will win!

I hope Cam plays instead of Viktor Kozlov. Wonder if White plays? We won't know until game time. I look foward to some good hockey talk in this gamethread because I will only see one hour then I have to go to work. Do some good recaps. Thanks! :D

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Rookie Ward Is the Calm Amid the Hurricanes

The Washington Post

By Tarik El-Bashir

May 06, 2006

RALEIGH, N.C., May 5 -- Carolina Hurricanes Coach Peter Laviolette said he learned everything he needed to know about Cam Ward in the rookie goaltender's first NHL start.

"It was opening night at home against the Penguins," Laviolette explained. "Eighteen thousand people, overtime and a shootout. He stopped [Ziggy] Palffy, he stopped [sidney] Crosby and he stopped [Mario] Lemieux. We were going crazy on the bench. The fans were going crazy. Cam?"

Laviolette raised his arm nonchalantly and gave a ho-hum fist pump. "That was Cam's reaction," he added. "That's just who he is."

When the postseason began, few outside of Raleigh knew who Ward was. Such is the life of a backup goaltender. His biggest concern before the Hurricanes' opener against the Montreal Canadiens was finding a new baseball-style hat to wear while sitting on the bench.

Turns out, Ward didn't really have much use for one. Late in the first period of Game 2, the 22-year-old was in the Carolina crease, having relieved struggling starter Martin Gerber, who had surrendered three consecutive goals.

Although the Hurricanes lost, 6-5, and headed to Montreal down two games to none, Laviolette tapped Ward as the Game 3 starter.

They haven't lost since. Ward stopped 105 of the next 110 shots he faced to rally his team to four consecutive wins, a berth in the Eastern Conference semifinals and they became the talk of the league.

Carolina hosts Martin Brodeur and the streaking New Jersey Devils, winners of 15 in a row dating from the regular season, in Game 1 on Saturday afternoon at RBC Center.

"The stakes are a little bit higher now," Ward said. "But I have to do my best to keep a level head. The mental side of playing this position is huge. I play my best when I'm not thinking at all."

When Ward stares across the ice, he's going to see the player he idolized as a youngster in suburban Edmonton. Ward used to study Brodeur's technique and tried to emulate his style of play.

Brodeur and Ward rank second and third, respectively, among goalies in the postseason. The New Jersey netminder has a 1.00 goals against average and a .965 save percentage while Ward's numbers are 1.54 and .940.

But that's pretty much where the comparison ends. Brodeur is a two-time Vezina Trophy winner and has won three Stanley Cups. As for Ward, a 2002 first-round draft pick, he has a pretty nice black and white Hurricanes baseball hat.

"Obviously I have a lot of respect for Martin Brodeur," Ward said. "He's definitely someone that I grew up watching as a kid and idolized. It's just going to be a thrill for myself to have an opportunity to play on the same ice as Brodeur.

"Just watching him perform and take his game to another level in the playoffs, you have a lot of respect for. He's got three Stanley Cups, so he's got quite the r sum ."

Brodeur told reporters in New Jersey that Ward's success reminds him of his first playoff run in 1994, when, also as a 22-year-old, he carried the Devils to the Eastern Conference finals.

"It's similar to me when I was younger," Brodeur said. "When you've never gone through the whole thing, you don't know what it takes. I know it was easy for me early in my career because I was surrounded with a lot of veterans that took the pressure off me. He's in the same boat."

Hurricanes center Eric Staal, who played alongside Ward for Lowell (Mass.) of the American Hockey League last season, said the goalie's calm demeanor will be key against a Devils team that rolls four lines and packs a potent power play.

"Cam did an unbelievable job against Montreal," said Staal, Carolina's leading scorer during the regular season with 100 points. "Now we need him to continue it against the Devils. He's a very calm, even keel kind of guy. He doesn't get too high, and he doesn't get too low. For him to come in like this, he's taking this as a challenge. His calmness in the net puts us at ease. Pucks are just hitting him right now. When you see your goalie playing like that, it gives everyone an aura of confidence."

"His calmness in the net puts us at ease"... He's going to be sh^tting his pants today aginst Marty! :clap:

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I've been up since 9am waiting for this game to start.

Cam would be a much better suit for this game. Although the Canes don't have any enforcers, having Cam out their with the fourth liners will set a physical tone for the game that Carolina really isn't fit to handle. Putting Kozlov with Wiemer and Rass is like putting orange juice in cereal. He will serve no purpose with them if their out hitting people and hes skating in circles looking for an exuse to pass the puck.

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Chris Cuthbert, Peter McNab and Cammi Granato will have the call for today's game.

Cuthbert and McNab make a fine team, but Granato really serves no purpose other than to interview John Madden, and she's not even good at that. She is no Pierre when it comes to interjecting with interesting tidbits about what's going on.

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I'm not nearly as nervous about this series as I was about the rags one. First because it was the rags, and second I wanted them to make it out of the 1st round regardless of the opponent.

I'm proud of what they accomplished this season. Sure I want the Cup, but I won't be shattered if they don't make it. Lots of great teams this year. The Devs and Lou brought home to me what I love about this team, and it's good enough. . . this year. :evil:


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Sorry. I got distracted. I'll try harder next time. :(

Heh. We can always go back to hot hand (3-0) if things don't fare well. :D

I'm happy keeping my record perfect, like Ken Daneyko's faceoff %. :lol:

Edited by Don
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