The Carolina Hurricanes continued to roll along with another win - their seventh in their last ten games played - a 4-0 shutout road victory against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
After the Hurricanes announced last Tuesday that a knee injury to starting goaltender Cam Ward would keep him out for 6-8 weeks, Ellis was tabbed to be the initial starter, while Peters was recalled on an emergency basis to be the backup.
Without Ward, many immediately wondered whether the team could maintain the momentum it had built up and be able to keep the top spot in the division.
After four games, you could say that the two netminders are doing pretty good – if not great – with all things considered.
As Peters’ recorded his second career shutout on Tuesday, both he and Ellis have combined for a 3-1 record and 2.50 goals against average while the team has scored an average of just over four goals per game, and sitting three points ahead of second-place Winnipeg.
“Both him and Ellis, we’re going to need both of them ,” head coach Kirk Muller said after the game in Washington.
“They both are two goalies that the guys like playing for and play hard for. They’re involved and they’re gonna’ play.”
Peters caps it off
Initially considered the backup to Ward before the season started, Peters bided his time during the lockout and worked hard along with Ellis, who signed a tryout contract back in September, to place the team’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate the club, the Charlotte Checkers, near the top of the league early in the season.
Though Ellis took the lead to get the Checkers on track, Peters provided support and took advantage of his opportunities as they arose.
“He’s been here before,” Muller said of Peters.
“He knows the guys, he’s been playing with the guys in Charlotte, so it’s familiar territory in a way for him.”
Even while being tabbed as a backup, Muller has alternated using both Ellis and Peters over the past week, and the platoon system that he has employed seems to be working so far.
Particularly against Washington, Peters held a better record than Ellis (0-2-3, 3.45 gaa) coming into the game, as held a 2-1 record, a 1.97 goals against average, and a shutout win over the Caps which he earned in February last season.
It made sense to start him and it paid off.
“Petey came up with a huge game tonight,” Muller continued.
“That’s a really big task, coming in on a really important divisional game, walk in on the road and get a shutout. He’s worked hard and it’s great to see for him.”
While Peters did his job in the net stopping 26 shots, the Hurricanes offense continued to fire on all cylinders as center Riley Nash scored two goals, bringing his young career total to three in six games, after tallying his first one back on Mar. 2 against the Florida Panthers.
Defenseman Joe Corvo scored the first goal of the game, the eventual game-winner against his former team, while Pat Dwyer completed the sandwich around linemate Nash’s double, when he added an empty-netter late in the third to put an exclamation point on the win over the Caps.
Having suffered a frustrating 3-0 loss to Washington back on Feb. 26, and holding only a 2-5 record against divisional opponents coming into the game, it was important for Carolina to even the series with their divisional rival.
With just over half the season completed, to get a psychological edge over a team like the Capitals is important, particularly when the two teams’ next game will be against one another, this time with the Hurricanes playing host at PNC Arena on Thursday.
“If you watched them tonight, you see they’re struggling a bit,” Corvo said.
“As a team that’s on a roll and playing well, you gotta’ smell blood.”