The Carolina Hurricanes continue to be one of the toughest teams for opponents to play against in the Eastern Conference, and an injury to goaltender Cam Ward has not slowed the team down as much as expected. Justin Peters is making the most of his chance to play with the Hurricanes this season, and has helped the team to wins over the Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals since being called up from the AHL.
Two seasons ago, Peters was the full-time backup to Ward, appearing in 12 games and posting a 3-5-1 record with a 3.98 goals against average. Last season the Hurricanes went with Brian Boucher in the number two spot instead, demoting Peters to the Charlotte Checkers and limiting his NHL time to just seven appearances. This season saw the Checkers add free agent goalie Dan Ellis during the lockout, which led to his signing a deal with the Hurricanes and leapfrogging Peters on the depth chart when the lockout ended. Through all of this, Peters has stayed focused and patient and is now making the most of an extended chance with Carolina. His most recent win was a 4-0 shutout over the Capitals, his second career shutout (both have come against Washington).
With Ward likely sidelined until the postseason, the Hurricanes appear to be moving forward with Ellis and Peters splitting starts. With the way the team’s offense has been performing behind Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner and Jiri Tlusty, most night’s find the Hurricanes only needing their netminder to hold their opponent’s to three goals or less. The Hurricanes have won six of their last seven games, with the only loss coming on Mar. 7, when the Montreal Canadiens scoring four goals on Peters. With one year left on his contract (one-way, $537,500), Peters is showing that he would like to stay in the NHL as Ward’s backup.