RALEIGH, N.C. | Back in November when Bruce Boudreau still coached the Washington Capitals, he decried an 0-3 road trip and a lack of offense.
“When they’re not going in,” Boudreau remarked, “every goalie is like Ken Dryden out there, it seems like.”
Enter Justin Peters on Monday night, as the 25-year-old who started the season third on the Carolina Hurricanes’ depth chart, blanked the Caps for his first career NHL shutout. It was just the fifth game Peters appeared in this season and his first shutout of any kind since Dec. 11, 2009 in the American Hockey League as he beat the Hershey Bears while with the Albany River Rats.
Monday night, the skill level was higher, but he was up to the task.
“I had to be ready I tried to stay mentally ready for when I was called upon,” Peters said. “Me getting the shutout, I’m just the beneficiary of the effort that these guys put in. I can’t say enough about the effort.”
The Caps only managed to put 17 shots on net while giving up 40 in the 5-0 rout.
“They were good and we were awful,” Caps forward Jeff Halpern said, “and when you’re chasing the puck and just batting the puck around and not going to support it, you’re not going to have the puck to get shots.”
It was vital to get off to a hot start, especially with franchise goaltender Cam Ward out. Instead, the Caps fell behind 2-0 in the first 5:09 and weren’t getting any shots or chances.
“You have a young kid in their goal and you just want to get on him right away. But it just seemed like we just fell right into their hands and we never got going,” right wing Mike Knuble said. “It probably would’ve been to our advantage to get on him right away and get pucks to the net. The first couple shifts we did and rebounds were popping out there, but to get those two quick ones got us on our heels.”
Peters got a light workload just about the entire night as Washington couldn’t put real pressure on him. Halpern and others praised Carolina for limiting shots and getting in the way, something that wasn’t lost on Peters.
“I felt comfortable. I definitely had the nerves before. If I’m not nervous I’m not ready to play. I’m always nervous,” he said. It was just a lot of fun to be a part of … It feels great. I’m going to enjoy it right now – the complete effort that everyone put in.”