Nathan Gerbe scored his second goal of the game with 38 seconds left in regulation to give the Hurricanes a victory at Nationwide Arena.
Gerbe deked from forehand to backhand to easily beat Sergei Bobrovsky for the game-winner. He had tied the game at 18:04 of the second period when he came out of the corner and squeezed a shot past last season's Vezina Trophy winner.
Ward finished with 25 saves. Bobrovsky stopped 21 shots.
"There wasn't a lot of intensity out there, for either side," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said after his team's preseason finale. "I think it was players knowing it was the last exhibition game, and wanting to get through it."
Carolina ends its preseason Friday night at home against the Buffalo Sabres. The Blue Jackets are idle until they open the season at home against the Calgary Flames on Oct. 4.