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Oh baby, Ward was not rattled

Tyler Seguin and Brandon Sutter were on the bottom of this heap with Patrick Dwyer (39) and Mark Stuart piling on. Tyler Seguin and Brandon Sutter were on the bottom of this heap with Patrick Dwyer (39) and Mark Stuart piling on. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / November 27, 2010

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Cam Ward departed TD Garden much the same way he arrived for yesterday’s matinee against the Bruins: with a little extra spring in his step.

Who could blame him? The 26-year-old Carolina goaltender was inspired to take the ice after his wife, Cody, gave birth Wednesday at 6:33 a.m. to their first child, son Nolan, who tipped the scales at 7 pounds 1 ounce and measured 20 inches long.

“I’m just a lucky young man right now,’’ Ward said. “It felt really good going in today.’’

Ward responded with a special delivery of his own, turning back all 37 shots he faced in a 3-0 blanking of the Bruins before a crowd of 17,565. It was Ward’s first shutout of the season, 13th of his career, and second against Boston. It was also his first as a father, which no doubt gave Ward added motivation.

“Oh, most certainly,’’ he said. “I’m very fortunate to have a lovely wife and a healthy boy. He’s my first. Knowing that he’s back home, we drove him home yesterday, it was probably his first time watching Dad on the TV, so most certainly he was on my mind.’’

Said Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice, “[Associate head coach] Ron Francis said the day after his first was born he had a hat trick. You feel good, and I think [Ward] knows how important he is to a team, and certainly does after today. He is such a critical part of the confidence of our whole hockey team.’’

At no time, however, was Maurice concerned his goaltender would be sleep deprived.

“If we had put him in against Washington [Wednesday night], then it would be [a concern],’’ said Maurice, who had Ward swap starts with backup Justin Peters, who was scheduled to face the Bruins. “But he’s a father and he’s used to not sleeping . . . he’s already been running the gamut of the feedings at 2 in the morning. So he is fine now.’’

Ward survived a first-period flurry by the Bruins in which he turned away at least five Grade A chances, including two by Nathan Horton. One appeared to hit the post, and the other seemed to glance off Ward and bounce off the crossbar.

“I got that one in the neck, so I have a little souvenir,’’ Ward said, referring to the angry red welt. “But hey, I knew that’s part of the game when I signed up for this position.’’

Once the Hurricanes scored the first of their three power-play goals, with 16 seconds remaining in the first period, Ward seemed to lull the Bruins to sleep.

“We had lots of chances,’’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien, whose team was 0 for 3 on the penalty kill and 0 for 4 on the power play. “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t score, and again, you don’t play and get as many shots, as many chances that you have without scoring goals with a goaltender being really good at the other end, and he deserves a lot of credit. He was good.

“But at the same time, you’ve got to take responsibility. You’ve got to find ways to score goals.’’

Ward was never better than in that first period, which seemed to set the tone for the Hurricanes.

“Cam gave us a chance early because we were a little slow out of the gate,’’ Maurice said. “We got better in the second and played closer to our game, I think, for long stretches.

“But it was a prototypical road win: our goaltender was really, really good, power play and penalty kill were really good, and that’s what we needed to have happen.’’

Of course, it helped to have a goalie playing with a little extra motivation. After Ward stayed up all night to witness the birth of his son, he sat out that night’s 3-2 loss at home to the Capitals, and returned to the ice yesterday against the Bruins because “I didn’t want to miss a thing,’’ he said.

Noting how well Ward played as a first-time father, Maurice joked, “I hope he has 70 more babies this year.’’

Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com.

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