Saying he “signed up” to accept a lot of pressure by opting to become a goaltender, the Canes' Cam Ward shouldered his share of blame in Carolina's struggle against Pittsburgh.
“I want to be that guy. I want [to be] the guy who has to perform at a high level in the tough situation,” Ward said after a practice session Monday in the RBC Center.
Down 3-0 in the Eastern Conference finals, Ward and the Canes need a win in their building Tuesday to avoid a sweep. Ward, the most outstanding player in the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup championship run, acknowledged he might need a perfect performance in net for the team to force Game 5.
“If that’s what it takes, that’s what we’ve got make sure we can deliver tomorrow,” Ward said. “I think we all have that in us. I know I can perform a lot better, and I need to.
"We’ve put ourselves in this situation but in doing so, we’ve got one more opportunity to do something about it. As long as we can keep that opportunity alive, that’s the important thing at this stage.”
Ward and defenseman Dennis Seidenberg both emphasized the importance of playing sounder fundamental defense on Tuesday.
“I think we’ll try to do the simple things better,” Seidenberg said. “We need to get the puck out of trouble spots quicker and keep Cam from having to deal with so much coming at him.”
Added Ward: “They make you pay for your mistakes. You have limit those as best you can. It’s not a lack of effort. It’s more like we’re trying to force plays that aren’t there.
"Sometimes the easiest thing to do is just get the puck off the glass and move it out of harm’s way. I think doing that [more] might frustrate them a little bit.”
— Caulton Tudor