This is what Rotowire.com had to say on Cam Ward’s return to the Canes’ lineup going into tonight’s game in Washington:
“[Ward’s success] may be more a question of how good the team in front of him is playing.”
Good call, Rotowire. Not that it took Nostradamus to make this prediction, but considering Carolina’s abysmal 19 points this season, Ward’s status as an elite goaltender is in danger of being scrapped quickly if the Canes’ can’t start playing better team hockey.
Want more proof? Carolina is dead last in both goals scored per game and goals allowed per game at a respective 2.30 for and 3.53 against.
Watching tonight’s game, I couldn’t help but sigh as Ward stood on his head for three periods (and 1:16 of overtime) before the Caps’ Mike Green netted the game winner.
Canes defenseman Tim Gleason, who lost half of his mouth to an Alexander Ovechkin shot in the third period, scored the game-tying goal on a shorthanded breakaway with 6:30 left to play in the final stanza.
That was the heart-breaker for me. Carolina’s announcers talked up Gleason’s character and leadership all game, and he delivered when his team was ready to drop their 18th game this season.
You hate to see a guy work so hard and not get what he deserves. Gleason’s goal was his fifth of the season, a career-best for the Canes defenseman. When you ask certain players on your team to be leaders, they rarely step up the way Gleason did tonight.
Unfortunately for him, it takes more than one player to win games.