Ward, 6-7-5 with a 3.15 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage in 19 games with Carolina this season, missed 14 games with a lower-body injury. He was removed from injured reserve this past Thursday and played in two games for the Checkers on a conditioning stint, when he went 1-1 with a 2.02 GAA and a .937 save percentage.
"I’ll get a report on how he did down there," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller told The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. "It was great he went down. The reason he went down was more physical, to see him get through games similar to Khudobin when he went down.
"Now we've got to look at it. It comes down to who is the guy who gives us the best chance to win the next game. That's how we’re going to approach it."
Selected in the first round (No. 25) by Carolina in the 2002 NHL Draft, Ward, 29, is the franchise's all-time leader in games played by a goalie (450), wins (220) and shutouts (21), and won a Stanley Cup in 2006. The Hurricanes now have three goaltenders on their roster with current starter Anton Khudobin (12-4, 2.16 GAA, .927 save percentage) a winner of five of his past six starts.
"We've got three goalies and all of them have had some success this year," Muller said. "We'll just have to do it day by day, who’s the guy that's ready to go."