Dan Ellis wasn't sure if he'd be playing hockey anywhere this season, much less in the NHL.

But there he was Friday, a goaltender calm in net, sharp and in control, making all the stops as the Carolina Hurricanes shut out the Ottawa Senators 1-0 at PNC Arena.

The Canes (3-3) were making a last home appearance before heading out on a six-game road trip. Carolina coach Kirk Muller also had a decision to make: start No. 1 goalie Cam Ward or go with Ellis, the backup.

Ellis got the call, made 33 saves and earned his 13th career shutout, making Eric Staal's first-period goal stand up. He also bettered Sens goalie Craig Anderson, who was named the NHL's player of the month for January with a 0.99 goals-against average and .967 save percentage.

"I think any time you can go out and get a win before going on a big road trip, it gives you a lot of momentum going into it," Ellis said, shying away from any personal praise. "You create some good habits and something to build off of."

Good habits, in the Canes' case, would include good positional defensive play in front of Ellis. Carolina didn't allow the Sens (5-2-1), who led the Eastern Conference, many second chances and allowed just eight shots on goal in the third period.

The Hurricanes also were aggressive and effective on the penalty kill against a team that was sixth in the NHL on the power play. Muller rotated 13 players when the Canes were shorthanded as the Sens failed on four power-play attempts.

"Obviously that was a huge part of the win and a lot of guys contributed," Canes forward Jussi Jokinen said.

The Canes' penalty killers earned an ovation from the crowd of 18,680 in the second period. Soon after Jeff Skinner just missed on a second Carolina goal – the puck hitting the bottom of the crossbar but not crossing the goal line – defenseman Jamie McBain was called for a double minor for high-sticking and cutting the Sens' Chris Neil.