Peters pulls positives out of unusual season

04/15/2014 4:03 PM

04/15/2014 4:03 PM

Cam Ward called it an "unusual" season and it was, given his injuries and competition for playing time from Anton Khudobin.

But if it was unusual for Ward, what about Justin Peters?

"Definitely something I haven't experienced before," Peters said Tuesday.

When Khudobin and Ward both went out with injuries in October, Peters took over in net and started a career-best 10 straight games. After losing the first five, he then went 4-0-1 and had a 1.16 goals-against average in a five-game homestand, including wins over Colorado and Anaheim.

Peters stopped 47 shots on Dec. 21 against Tampa Bay in a 3-2 overtime loss. But after starting against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 27, a 4-3 overtime loss, he played in only one more game -- Jan. 19 against Tampa Bay, allowing three goals on seven shots in 15 minutes.

Khudobin and Ward returned, and rather risk exposing Peters to waivers, the Canes kept him on the roster and gave him as much work as possible before, during and after practices.

"I spent a lot of time with Roddy and the staff," Peters said, smiling, referring to assistant coach Rod Brind'Amour. "Roddy got to work on his shot a lot.

"But every day we showed up and worked. I try to take the positives out of it and look at it as a chance to work on my game. I think I was able to do that."

Peters, 27, had an NHL contract this season that paid him $550,000 and is due to become an unrestricted free agent. His numbers -- 2.50 GAA, .919 save percentage -- could make him attractive to teams looking for a capable backup goalie.

That includes the Hurricanes, who still must decide how to resolve having three goalies on the roster.

"The business side of it you never know what's going to happen," Peters said. "At the same time I want to be a part of this team. I feel I'm an NHL goaltender, and I want to be here and see this team right the ship and I want to be a part of that.

"We'll see how things shake out in the summer. I think from a year ago to now, I'm a better goalie and I'm in a better position than I was a year ago."

Canes beat writer Chip Alexander

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