RALEIGH, N.C.- Cam Ward stuffed Sidney Crosby in the shootout to complete a stellar outing in his first NHL start, and Cory Stillman’s goal in the tiebreaker was enough to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.

With the Hurricanes ahead in the shootout after Stillman scored in the first round, Crosby was Pittsburgh’s last chance. The 18-year-old phenom skated in and shot low, but Ward was up to the task even after Mario Lemieux and Ziggy Palffy failed to beat him in the first two rounds.

Ward immediately raised both arms after his clinching save and headed to the bench, where he received congratulations from his teammates.

The Penguins tied it with 1:24 left in regulation when Crosby fed a cross-ice pass to Palffy, who backhanded the puck past Ward to make it 2-2. It was Crosby’s lone point of the game, giving him a pair of assists in two NHL games.

Ward finished with 28 saves, and the 21-year-old goalie played like a veteran in replacing the injured Martin Gerber (hip injury). Last season was Ward’s first as a professional, and he set franchise records at Lowell of the AHL for victories (27), shutouts (6), save percentage (.937) and goals-against (1.99).

His introduction to the NHL came early, when Lemieux had a chance from in close. But Ward stopped that shot, and did the same minutes later on Mark Recchi’s wrist shot after a behind-the-back, touch pass from Crosby.

Stillman and Eric Staal scored in the first period to give Carolina a 2-0 lead. The Penguins got within 2-1 on a power-play goal by Ryan Malone, the only one of the game that came with the man-advantage.

An unofficial assist could have gone to referee Paul Devorski, who accidentally deflected Bret Hedican’s attempt to clear the puck. It bounced right to Malone, who beat Ward from the short-side.

Notes: Carolina D Bret Hedican played in his 800th career game. … Both teams are in action Saturday night. The Hurricanes travel to New York to play the Islanders, and Pittsburgh will face the Boston Bruins in its home opener. … The only fight came in the second period, when Carolina’s Jesse Boulerice squared off against Ryan Vandenbussche. Boulerice clearly got the better of it, and when he got to the penalty box, several of his teammates came by to congratulate him.

AP-ES-10-07-05 2201EDT

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