Oh, baby! New papa Cam Ward stifles Bruins

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Oh, baby! New papa Cam Ward stifles Bruins

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Cam Ward's last shutout came on May 3, 2009, when he made 30 saves in the Carolina Hurricanes' 3-0 victory over the Bruins at TD Garden in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

He did it again Friday, by the same score, only with more saves (37). Only this time there was a big difference:

The presence of his newborn son, Nolan, who was born Wednesday and to whom he dedicated Friday's victory.

"These last couple days have been really amazing for myself, introducing my first son, Nolan, and both Nolan and Mom are doing awesome," said Ward after Carolina's win. "I was just excited about getting back on the ice."

Ward hadn't played since last Saturday, but, what with a newborn baby in the house, that didn't mean he was well rested. He was, however, used to being up early, so his recent sleep deprivation was a good thing heading into Friday's earlier-than-usual noon puck drop.

"Well, I knew it was going to be his first one watching," said Ward. "I'm just a very lucky young man right now, and I felt really good going into today.

"I'm very fortunate to have a lovely wife, and giving me a healthy boy. It's my first son, so knowing that he's back home, we drove him home yesterday, it's his first time watching Dad on the TV, so most certainly it was in my mind."

Ward was also in the Bruins' minds as well.

The B's had their chances on Friday, but Ward was consistently in the right place at the right time all game long.

"You've got to give Ward credit because he kept them in the game," said Bruins forward Milan Lucic. "He made some big stops for them, and that's, I think, the biggest reason why they won.

"He did a good job kicking the rebounds out," added Lucic. "If he put out his glove, he caught it, or he stopped the play every time. So he's a big part of that team, and we weren't able to break him down tonight."

Ward's dominating play was something Mark Recchi had seen before.

"Ward's a world-class goalie," said Recchi. "I was with him in Carolina when we won the Cup in 2006, and he knows how to win. He's a great goalie. He's very sound, technically, and he's a competitive guy. You're going to have to be willing to out-battle him. He's a battler, and we weren't quite willing to out-battle him."

The Bruins outshot the Hurricanes 37-21 on Friday. They also went 0-for-4 on the power play. Even though the B's weren't in sync at all during their man-advantage opportunities, the old saying still exists for any team: your best penalty killer is your goalie.

On Friday, Ward was Carolina's best player

"I felt like I was seeing the puck really well," said Ward. "I felt that I controlled my rebounds, and any time you do that, you can help your team in your own zone."

When asked, after the game, if Ward showed any signs of slowing down, now that he has to take care of his newborn son the rest of the season, Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice responded by saying, "No, we're hoping he has 70 more babies this year."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicard

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want. 

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals. 

The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse. 

Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL. 

This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience. 

Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason. 

On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.  

The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.