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Ward blanks Blues as Hurricanes end road trip

ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- Cam Ward stopped 19 shots - including 10

in the third period - to record his first shutout of the season

as the Carolina Hurricanes wrapped up a six-game road trip with

a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

Ward turned away a late push by St. Louis, helping Carolina head

home with a successful trek in which it netted eight points

(3-1-2).

Tuomo Ruutu notched the lone goal of the contest on a power play

with 9:41 remaining, tipping a wrist shot from the left circle

by Eric Staal past goaltender Chris Mason, who had the puck slip

between his pads.

"I tried to get my stick in there on the way ? I guess it hit

it," said Ruttu, who picked up his second goal of the season.

"Eric gave me a shot I could do something with."

"We had some opportunities, couldn't get it in and couldn't get

a bounce, and going into the third (period), we thought it might

be one of those goals that hits something or goes off of

something ? a bad bounce," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette

said. "It was a clean shot that went in, but it wasn't a

picture-perfect play."

It was the second time in three games St. Louis has been shut

out. The Blues, who also were blanked by the Los Angeles Kings

on Friday, were limited to just nine shots over the first two

periods.

St. Louis coach Andy Murray was not shy about expressing his

disappointment about the offensive ineptitude.

"The first two periods, we killed 12 minutes of penalties in 40

minutes, so there was not a lot of clock left," he said. "Some

of our skilled guys were trying to play with their hands instead

of their legs. I didn't like our forwards tonight... We were

forcing the puck into the middle of the ice instead of behind

and toward the goal.

"We're going to win or lose based on how our top five or six

players play."

In all, the Blues were whistled for six penalties over the first

two periods, including a double-minor on David Perron for

high-sticking.

The ice began to open up for St. Louis in the third, but Ward

did not leave much at which to aim en route to picking up his

seventh career shutout and first since a 3-0 win at Chicago on

March 12.

The Blues did not register their 10th shot of the game until

3:17 of the third period, when Andy McDonald was turned away by

Ward on a breakaway.

St. Louis had another great chance to get on the board 6:26 into

the final session, when rookie T.J. Oshie's backhander during a

scrum in front of the net went wide to the right.

Ward's effort highlighted a rare successful night for the

Hurricanes at the Scottrade Center, as Carolina won here for the

first time since December 9, 1999.

Afterward, Ward praised the defense in front of him.

"Up until that last 10 minutes of the third period, we did a

really excellent job of shutting them down and didn't give them

any time or space," the former first-round pick said. "They

have some skilled guys in their lineup, and if you don't do

that, they can put the puck in the net. This is one of the best

defensive games we have played in the last three years that I've

been here."

Entering the game with the top power-play unit in the league,

the Blues had just three chances in this one, including two in

the third period. They have been successful on just two of

their last 15 man-advantage situations over the last three

games.

"Our defense did a terrific job tonight," Laviolette said.

"When you have the speed of (Paul) Kariya or McDonald, there is

a lot to handle, and our guys did a terrific job. They didn't

get chances until the very end and they didn't get chances with

their power play."

Making his first appearance since an emergency appendectomy on

October 16, Mason made 28 saves for St. Louis.

"It's a tough way to lose a game," Mason said. "Our penalty

kill was awesome tonight. Usually, when you take that many

penalties, you're going to give up a goal eventually."

"Even with that shot, it was deflected, he was still

outstanding," Murray said of Mason. "One thing we've needed was

a second goaltender, and he gave us a chance tonight."

But it was the homebound Hurricanes who were pleased with the

last stop of their road trip.

"There weren't too many chances 5-on-5. Both teams were playing

great defensively," Ruutu said. "We'll take it, it's not easy

to win on the road. You're not going to score five goals on the

road. So you play this way and try to win the game."

"It was a real good way to end (the road trip)," Laviolette

added. "You can always look back and say there were some points

we left on the table. We dealt with a lot with the travel, the

injuries and everything else this month, so to finish like this

is real positive going home."

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