Ward made his best stop of the game with six minutes left in the third period when he dived across the goal to make a glove stop on Keith Ballard's shot that looked destined to find the wide open net and force a tie.
"Just pure desperation," Ward said of his important stop that preserved the win. "I guess just a matter of not giving up on the puck."
The Hurricanes, mired near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, were 2-0 down midway through the second period after the Canucks' Kevin Bieksa and Mason Raymond both scored, despite the strong play of Ward.
Drayson Bowman then scored his first of two goals with a tap-in late in the second period to start a string of four successive goals by Carolina, which give the home side a 4-2 lead six minutes into the third period.
Tuomo Ruutu and Jaroslav Spacek also scored for Carolina.
Alex Burrows scored for the Canucks near the mid-point of the third period but Vancouver, without their top goal scorer Daniel Sedin who was suffering back pain, were unable to find the equaliser against Ward, who made 33 saves.
"When you have a 2-0 lead, yeah, it's disappointing," Canucks winger Mason Raymond said of the loss.
"We let in the tying goal with a minute to go in the second period, and that's something you never want to do. Sure, it's a letdown. We got a little sloppy there with turnovers and they made us pay. We had a bit of a push late, but it wasn't enough."