After the Hurricanes matched opening shootout goals by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Kris Versteeg broke the tie in the fourth round, and goalie Cristobal Huet stopped Sergei Samsonov to give Chicago a 3-2 victory Wednesday night.
Versteeg, who also scored in regulation, discovered quickly in his first NHL season that shootouts require mental discipline.
"We had a ton of shootouts at the start of the year," Versteeg said. "You just go down there and do whatever you have in your head. You try not to think too much. If it works, it works. If not ... not."
"Our shootout guys did an excellent job to score two and give us a chance," Ward said. "Unfortunately, I didn't come up with the save in the shootout."
Carolina rallied to force overtime, tying it on Ruutu's power-play goal with 26.5 seconds left in regulation and Ward off for an extra attacker.
"When it's 6-on-4, you just want to shoot the puck and maybe it will go in," Ruutu said.
In overtime, Ward stopped a partial break by Kane, and Huet blocked a shot by Eric Staal on a breakaway with 3 seconds to go.
"Pucks were going in all over the place," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was pretty exciting out there. The game was tight and that's what we're going to see until the end."
With the point for the regulation tie, Carolina - which had won four straight - tied Pittsburgh for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 78 points, although the Hurricanes have one more loss than the Penguins.
Chicago is fourth in the West.
Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour opened the scoring early in the first period, Versteeg tied it with 2:52 left in the second, and Troy Brouwer put the Blackhawks back in front on a power play at 4:51 of the third.
Ward finished with 39 saves, and Huet stopped 29 shots.
"It goes off to chance in the shootout," Ward said. "And they've got some good players who can shoot the puck."
At Anaheim, Calif., Scott Niedermayer scored at 3:37 of overtime, Petteri Nokelainen, Teemu Selanne and Ryan Getzlaf also scored, and Jonas Hiller made 32 saves to help the Ducks snap a three-game losing streak.
Selanne opened the scoring late in the first period with his 21st goal of the season and 573rd overall, tying former Islanders star Mike Bossy for 18th place on the career list. Alex Burrows, Kyle Wellwood and Ryan Kesler scored for Vancouver.
Anaheim tied Minnesota and Dallas for ninth place in the Western Conference with 70 points, one point behind Edmonton and Nashville for the last of the eight playoff spots. Vancouver is fifth with 77 points.
At Ottawa, Mike Fisher beat Karri Ramo off a rebound at 2:38 of overtime to give the Senators their fourth straight victory.
Brian Elliott made 22 saves for his fourth victory in a row, and Ryan Shannon and Chris Kelly scored in regulation. Cory Murphy and Adam Hall scored for Tampa Bay, and Ramo stopped 24 shots. The Lightning have lost four straight and 15 of 19.
|Rod Brind'Amour (11) ASST: Sergei Samsonov (28), Patrick Eaves (8)|
1 - 0 CAR
|Kris Versteeg (18) ASST: Duncan Keith (26)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Troy Brouwer (10) ASST: Patrick Kane (38), Cam Barker (29)|
2 - 1 CHI
|PPG - Tuomo Ruutu (21) ASST: Ray Whitney (38), Eric Staal (27)|
2 - 2 Tie
|1||J. Toews||T. Ruutu|
|2||P. Kane||J. Jokinen|
|3||D. Bolland||M. Cullen|
|4||K. Versteeg||S. Samsonov|
|Eric Staal Cross checking against Kris Versteeg|
|Dennis Seidenberg Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Dustin Byfuglien Too many men/ice - bench|
|Jonathan Toews Holding against Chad LaRose|
|Tuomo Ruutu Diving against Kris Versteeg|
|Patrick Eaves Elbowing against Colin Fraser|
|Troy Brouwer Tripping against Chad LaRose|
|Tuomo Ruutu Hi stick - double minor against Brent Seabrook|
|Erik Cole Tripping against Dave Bolland|
|Jonathan Toews Hooking against Chad LaRose|