Ward turned aside 26 shots in making his first appearance since Feb. 3 when back problems forced him from the lineup and Brandon Sutter added a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes.
Erik Cole got the other Carolina goal.
Nik Antropov tallied the only goal for the Thrashers, who blew an opportunity to gain ground on Boston for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot after the Bruins lost Monday.
Instead, Atlanta dropped its third game in four tries and remained two points behind Boston.
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]