RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — It had been a while since Joakim Nordstrom scored a goal, and even longer since Cam Ward shut out an opponent.
Both droughts are over — and now the Carolina Hurricanes are no longer in last place.
Nordstrom scored with 9:12 left, Ward made 22 saves in his first shutout in over a year and the Hurricanes beat the San Jose Sharks 1-0 on Tuesday night for their second straight win.
“It’s starting to come together,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said.
Ward got the 24th shutout of his career and first since he blanked Colorado on Oct. 21, 2015, while improving to 6-1 in his career against the Sharks.
That helped the Hurricanes escape last place in the Metropolitan Division, in the process snapping the defending Western Conference champions’ three-game winning streak.
“You’ve got to build some momentum, and certainly these last two games have been our best two games of the year, and we did it in a real good fashion, playing the way we wanted to play, and dominated at times,” Ward said. “That’s a compliment to the guys. … It’s not going to get any easier, but we showed what we can do when we’re on, for sure.”
Aaron Dell stopped 32 shots in his third career game and his second start for the Sharks.
“He was excellent,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “Gave us a chance to hang around in a game we didn’t deserve to be in. That’s all you can ask from him.”
San Jose, which averages nearly 30 shots per game, managed just two in the second period before coming on strong in the third. The Sharks were shut out for the third time this season and second time this month.
“They took the game over in the second period,” DeBoer said. “Their compete level went up another notch and we didn’t go with them.”
The sequence that led to Nordstrom’s goal was started by Viktor Stalberg, who broke up a breakaway attempt with his stick. Ward then blocked Joonas Donskoi’s tip-in try, and that eventually led to a rush the other way, with Nordstrom backhanding the rebound of his own shot past Dell’s glove for the fourth-line forward’s first goal of the season. He had 10 last year.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I missed the first one, so I was kind of happy to get the second chance,” Nordstrom said.
Before that score, the goalies had put on a show for the overwhelming majority of this one, with Dell and Ward matching each other save for save. Dell made a slick stop on a rising shot by Jeff Skinner early in the third, and a few minutes later Ward stopped a tricky tip from Logan Couture with about 13 1/2 minutes left.
NOTES: San Jose scratched C Melker Karlsson, who injured his left ankle while blocking a shot Saturday against Tampa Bay. … Carolina activated D Justin Faulk from injured reserve before the game. Faulk (upper body) missed three games. … The teams meet again Dec. 10 in San Jose.
San Jose: The Sharks continue their six-game road trip at St. Louis on Thursday night.
Carolina: The Hurricanes play host to Montreal on Friday night in the third game of their critical five-game homestand.