Pro Side: Hurricanes' Cam Ward out up to two months with MCL sprain
The Carolina Hurricanes have announced that starting goaltender Cam Ward could miss up to two months due to a sprained ligament in his left knee. Ward endured a third-degree sprain of his MCL during the team's 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Sunday night. Hurricane defenseman Justin Faulk incidentally crashed into the netminder when attempting to halt Panther forward Jack Skille from putting a puck on net in the second period.
This season Ward is 9-6-1 with a 2.84 goals against average, while Carolina is currently in first place in the Southeast Division and third in the Eastern Conference standings. The team has been playing middle-of-the-pack defense, allowing 2.8 goals per game with Ward and back-up goalie Dan Ellis between the pipes. However, the Hurricanes have been amongst the league best with a 3.0 goals per game average, good for sixth-best in the NHL.
While their defensive numbers may suffer a bit with the loss of Ward, Ellis has played well in spot duty. In a back-up role, Ellis registered a 3-2-1 record and 2.53 goals against average this season, including a 1-0 shutout of Ottawa last month. Following last night's game against Buffalo, the Hurricanes now face a tough matchup tomorrow in the Montreal Canadiens, who are in the top five in the NHL offensively.
Depending on his recovery, Ward may not be able to return until the very end of the regular season, which is scheduled for April 27. Excluding this year, Ward has only had one season shortened due to injury since 2006, when he played in just 47 games over the 2009-10 campaign. This season is also the only campaign since 2006 when Ward has maintained a goals against average of higher than 2.75.
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