RALEIGH, N.C. – Goaltender Justin Peters earned his third career shutout while backstopping the Carolina Hurricanes to a 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders at PNC Arena on Thursday.
Forward Radek Dvorak scored the eventual game-winning goal at 6:39 of the first period and the Hurricanes held on for the win with the help of Peters’ 21-save performance.
Keeping the Islanders’ top scorers like Kyle Okposo and John Tavares scoreless helped push the Hurricanes up a few spots in the standings after beating another Metropolitan division opponent in successive games.
“He’s given us an opportunity to win these last two games,” Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said of Peters.
“He’s done his job. Yeah, we’d like to say we gotta’ score more than one or two goals, but you know what, there’s nights that you don’t have to. He’s given us a confidence to just go out and play our game these last two games here and play it the way we wanna’ play it.”
Peters made several big saves during each period of play and made up for some big rebounds he afforded the Islanders by denying them with even better finishing stops.
“I was bunting a few out there tonight, that’s for sure,” Peters said.
“Big blocks, big plays by the D, and the forwards coming back to help out – that helps a lot.”
While the Islanders dominated puck possession for the first 10 minutes of play and hovered around the Carolina net, they weren’t taking any shots directly on Peters, but everywhere around him.
It seemed that the puck never seemed to connect between sticks as smoothly as both teams would have liked, and resulted in a very choppy pace of play throughout a game that eventually presented opportunities to score at both ends of the ice.
After the Hurricanes gained possession in the Islanders zone, Dvorak moved towards the crease area to Islanders goaltender Kevin Poulin’s left while defenseman Ron Hainsey took a shot from the blue line that looked to be going wide.
However, with Dvorak parked in the right spot, the puck deflected off of him and past Poulin to score the first and only goal of the game.
“Once you have a lead, it’s a bit easier, but that doesn’t mean you stop working,” Dvorak said.
“We were doing that for most of the game and we got two points after the game.”
With 44 seconds left in the second period, Michael Grabner outskated Alexander Semin at the Hurricanes blue line and tried to beat the Carolina keeper with a deke, but combined with Semin’s stick check Peters’ made a big pad save to carry the 1-0 lead into the second intermission.
The Islanders were not lacking in effort to tie the game in the third period, but Peters once again presented the final defense on New York’s final pushes to score.
Of particular note, was a spectacular glove save he made on a wrist shot from Tavares with just over six minutes to play that brought the crowd of 11,541 in attendance to its feet.
While Peters continued to make key saves, his teammates battled to preserve the win for him.
“I feel confident,” Peters said.
“I feel really confident in this team. I feel really confident in the trust we have in each other and I feel that’s building – it’s been building for a while now. It’s nice for the guys to get rewarded with the hard work they’re doing in the way they’re playing and (with) the trust we have in each other.”