Ward has Hall of a time

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:15 AM ET

Jet-set celebrities don't get the red-carpet treatment that Cam Ward received in his brief visit to Toronto.

The Carolina Hurricanes goaltender left town last night with two points, a first star, a pass from the league's pad police and the thrill of seeing himself in the Hockey Hall of Fame's newly edited Stanley Cup movie.

"The only other time I was at the Hall was the year I came here to be drafted," Ward said after making 29 saves to stymie the Maple Leafs, 4-1. "These have been two special trips for me."

On Monday, the Hurricanes were invited to the Hall to sign autographs and watch Stanley Cup Odyssey, the in-house story of the hockey grail that gets a revised ending with each new champion.

"Last year was the best year of my life and to see it all over again gave me goose bumps," said Ward, a rookie Conn Smythe winner. "It was an exciting time for everyone on our team to see the glass showcase on what we'd done and to see the video. It got everyone fired up to play today.

"I'm enjoying every minute of this. Just to be in the NHL is a dream come true. I don't want to take this time for granted because who knows how long it will last?"

Ward's pads and gear were checked in the morning by Kay Whitmore, a semi-surprise visit whenever incoming teams get in range of the NHL's Toronto office.

"I'm street legal," Ward joked of his clearance.

He only surrendered a Bryan McCabe goal in the first period, while making 12 other stops when the Leafs were at their most dangerous last night. Ward's defence, despite missing a few injured starters and working newcomer Dennis Seidenberg in, did the rest.

"We weren't very happy with the past few games (four losses in the past six before Toronto), but we're showing positives," Ward said. "We're keeping it simple in the defensive zone. As long as you do that, you will generate offence."

Eric Staal had a goal and assist, but credited the buzzsaw Eric Belanger line for setting up a screen on Andrew Raycroft for the power play winning goal.

"Traffic is the key on any power play," Staal said.


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