Cam Ward stops 19 shots to help Carolina beat Blues 1-0

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ST. LOUIS - Just like his go-ahead goal, Hurricanes left winger Tuomo Ruutu deflected any praise.

"I just tried to get my stick in the way, and it hit it," Ruutu said of his third-period goal. Cam Ward made it stand up with 19 saves for his seventh career shutout in Carolina's 1-0 victory Thursday over the St. Louis Blues.

On the power play, Ruutu deflected a slap shot by Eric Staal from just inside the left circle for the lone goal at 9:41. The puck trickled through the pads of Chris Mason, who was playing for the first time since he an emergency appendectomy Oct. 16.

"Staal shot it and it just nicked Ruutu and changed directions just enough to sneak through," Mason said. "It's unfortunate. I didn't know where it was."

"We took a lot of penalties tonight and it's too bad it came down to that."

Carolina took advantage while Paul Kariya was off the ice for a hooking penalty. It was the seventh power-play opportunity of the game for the Hurricanes.

"We talked about (one goal winning it)," said Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's hanging 0-0 going into the third. It's sitting there, and it might be one of those goals that hits something, or goes off of something, or a bad bounce. It was a clean shot that went in, but it wasn't your picture-perfect play."

With the way the Hurricanes defence and Ward were playing, it was enough.

"That's probably one of the best defensive games that I've seen us play in my three years," Ward said. "That's a compliment to the guys. They worked really hard."

Ward, a No. 1 draft pick in 2002, didn't see much action until the third period, when the Blues had 10 shots on goal.

St. Louis coach Andy Murray was not pleased with his team's effort.

"I'm disappointed as some of our leading players are," Murray said. "If your top don't play well and what reason don't they have to play well? Last time I checked, they're all pretty well paid. They like playing here in St. Louis. They don't have issues with the coach. Just play hard. We're going to win or lose based on how our top five or six guys play."

The Blues entered the game with the top-ranked power-play in the NHL, but St. Louis had just three chances, including two in the third period.

It was the second time in the last three games St. Louis has been shut out.

It was a listless first two periods by both clubs. The Blues' first shot on goal came with 8:48 left in the first. Carolina had just two shots in that span. St. Louis didn't get its 10th shot until 3:17 of the third period when Andy McDonald was thwarted by Ward.

The Blues had not lost at home to Carolina since the 1999-2000 season. In the last 20 years, the Hurricanes franchise won just three games in St. Louis before Thursday's victory.

Mason made 28 saves for the Blues.

Notes: C Eric Brewer played his 200th game for the Blues. ... This was the last of a six-game road trip for the Hurricanes, who went 3-1-2. ... Carolina played without F Brandon Sutter (concussion), D Joni Pitkanen (knee), D Frantisek Kaberle (leg), F Scott Walker (hand) and F Justin Williams (Achilles' tendon). ... Carolina D Anton Babchuk skated in his 100th career game.



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