RALEIGH, N.C. - Cam Ward stopped 18 shots to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-0 pre-season victory over the Nashville Predators on Friday night.
Casey Boyer and former Predator Scott Walker each had a goal and an assist, and Ray Whitney also scored for Carolina, which overcame a slow start and got its offence rolling late to improve to 2-0 in the pre-season.
Ward, the MVP of the Hurricanes' run to their first Stanley Cup championship in 2006, seemed in mid-season form in shutting down a Nashville offence that entered with eight goals in two games.
Dan Ellis - who won the only start of his NHL career when he debuted with Dallas in 2004 - stopped nine shots in two periods for Nashville before giving way to Pekka Rinne. He had 13 saves and was pulled with 1:42 remaining for an extra attacker.
Carolina managed just four first-period shots for the second time in two games this pre-season before once again getting the offence rolling later. The Hurricanes shot it 27 times and scored all their goals during the final two periods and overtime of their 4-3 win over Washington last Sunday.
This time, Boyer put the Hurricanes up 1-0 by scoring his first goal of the pre-season about five minutes into the second. The former St. Cloud State University defenceman and third-round draft pick uncorked a slap shot from just inside the blue line that beat Ellis to the glove side.
Whitney made it a two-goal game with about 4???? minutes remaining, when his snap shot from the left circle got past a screened Rinne. Walker took a pass from Matt Cullen and tapped home an empty-netter to seal with just over a minute to play.
More than half the players from Nashville's top three lines sat out, including captain Jason Arnott and right wing J.P. Dumont, while the Hurricanes held out all-stars Justin Williams and Eric Staal, and Erik Cole, who scored the game-winner in their pre-season opener five days earlier against Washington.
The opening faceoff was delayed 11 minutes because the lights failed to turn on after they were dimmed for player introductions.