Veteran backstop keying Carolina’s surge
Cam Ward wasn’t even supposed to be Carolina’s No. 1 goalie coming out of training camp. Now, though, he’s serving as the club’s savior.
The 32-year-old hopes to stay hot entering tonight’s matchup against Montreal. However, online sports book Bovada.lv gives Michel Therrien’s team odds of -170 to handle its business at home. The Hurricanes represent +140 underdogs.
With a 6-1-2 record this month, Ward has Carolina climbing the Eastern Conference ladder. The Alberta native boasts a 1.42 GAA and .949 save percentage since Nov. 8. In short, he’s made people forget all about the concussed Eddie Lack.
Of course, any conversation regarding elite netminders must include the Canadiens’ Carey Price. Fully recovered from a right knee issue that cost him 70 games a season ago, the four-time All-Star appears poised for another Vezina Trophy run. He holds a 13-5-2 career mark vs. the Hurricanes.
Despite the visitors’ exemplary performance of late, we simply can’t recommend them here. Ward may encounter significant trouble with Alex Galchenyuk, Paul Byron and the rest of the Habs’ top-six forwards. Thus, bank on Therrien’s crew to improve to 15-4-2 overall.
THURSDAY NHL FREE PICK: CANADIENS -1.5