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Peters to get start against Pens

PITTSBURGH -- Justin Peters and not Cam Ward will be in goal tonight as the Canes play their first game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Consol Energy Center.

Ward, after being lifted in losses against the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens, responded with a strong game and 23 saves Wednesday against Ottawa as the Canes won 7-1. But coach Paul Maurice said after today's morning skate that he wanted Peters in for the Pens, with Ward to go Saturday against the Nashville Predators at the RBC Center.

"I think he's a good, young player who needs to play games to develop," Maurice said of the decision to start Peters. "We're closing now on the 20-game mark and this will be his third (start), so we certainly have not overworked him."

Ward has been sharp, fit since return

Canes coach Paul Maurice wasn't sure what to expect from Cam Ward.

The goaltender had been out seven weeks with a back problem. How rusty would he be? How effective? And how would the back hold up after a game or two?

But Ward, who will start tonight against the New Jersey Devils, is 2-0 since returning to the lineup this week, stopping 60 of 60 shots in wins over Atlanta and Montreal.

"He was a little nervous going into that first game," Maurice said today. "I was really impressed how he was able to get right to his game. That's no easy thing to do."

Ward could be back in net next week

Cam Ward was back on the ice today, back in net, back taking shots. And not just from assistant coach Tom Barrasso.

Ward, who has not played since Feb. 3 in Calgary, put in his most extensive work since suffering a back injury. The plan is for him to start a game in goal next week.

"It's exciting for me to get back on the ice," Ward said. "It's been a long time coming. It's been awfully difficult and tough for me to sit out these past six weeks and forced to watch from the sidelines. ... I feel like a little kid out there again."

Peters, Legace splitting weekend duties in goal

Canes coach Paul Maurice said today that Justin Peters would start in goal Saturday against the Florida Panthers, with Manny Legace in net Sunday in Atlanta against the Thrashers.

The Canes' seven-game winning streak has come with goaltender Cam Ward sidelined with a back injury. Legace picked up his fourth win in the streak Thursday as Carolina topped Ottawa 4-1.

Rutherford: Ward could return this season

While saying there is no set timetable for a return, Canes general manager Jim Rutherford said today that goaltender Cam Ward could be back in net this season.

Ward, sidelined since Feb. 3 with a back problem, returned to a back specialist in Charlotte this week. Rutherford said surgery will not be required.

"We're real encouraged with the progress he's making," Rutherford said. "He has been feeling much better in the last week. We'll see where he is in the next week or two."

Doctors to observe Ward for couple weeks

Canes general manager Jim Rutherford said today that the doctors treating Cam Ward's back injury want to observe him for a couple of weeks before making a decision on how to best move forward.

"After a couple of weeks they'll have a better understanding of his condition," Rutherford said. "They'd like to see how it settles down, then go from there."

Rutherford: Ward to be hard to catch

Jim Rutherford won 151 games in his career as an NHL goaltender, so the Canes general manager has a good feel for the difficulties of being successful at that position in the league.

That Cam Ward now has 131 wins, that he is the franchise's career leader and only 25, means that those who come after Ward — whoever and whenever that might be — will be chasing a pretty impressive record.

"He's not only the all-time leader but he'll pad those numbers for years to come and probably will be hard to catch for somebody at some point in time," Rutherford said. "At such a young age he surpasses the record and he'll just keep piling on the numbers."

Staal, but not Ward, selected for Olympic team

Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal was among the 23 players selected for the roster for Canada's Olympic team. Staal's teammate, Carolina goaltender Cam Ward, was not selected, however.

 

Hockey Canada made the announcement today. The Canadian team opens Olympic play on Feb. 16 against Norway.

 

We'll have more from Staal and the Hurricanes' locker room on today's announcement later this afternoon.

Ward, Brind'Amour to be in lineup

Cam Ward will be back in goal and Rod Brind'Amour back in the lineup tonight.

Ward will make his first start since Nov. 7 tonight against the New Jersey Devils at The Rock. Brind'Amour, a healthy scratch Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, will replace injured winger Sergei Samsonov in the lineup.

"Cam's back in the saddle," coach Paul Maurice said after today's morning skate.

"I'm real excited about it," Ward said. "It's been a long time since I've played. Along with being excited I need to make sure I'm relaxed out there. Just play my game and keep it simple."

Bodies returning, Ward faces shots

A day after the Carolina Hurricanes had only 13 skaters at practice, the team got a few bodies back and goalie Cam Ward took shots with the team for the first time since an injury on Nov. 7.

"We're closing in on 20," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "When we get to Saturday, I guarantee you we're going to have [a full roster]. We've got a couple of injured guys out there that aren't effected by skating so they're able to get through it."

No. 1 goalie Cam Ward, who was injured Nov. 7, was limber and responsive in his first day of facing shots from the team. The last two days he practiced with assistant coach Tom Barrasso.

UPDATED: Defenseman Bryan Rodney has been recalled from the Albany River Rats. 

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