Washington Capitals goaltender Pete Peeters, sitting in the locker room and coated in sweat from one of the most heated games for his team this season, gave the reason he was able to stop a Philadelphia Flyers team that scored five goals against him early in the season.
"One team wears a 'B' and one has 'Capitals' across the jersey," said Peeters, who had lost to the Flyers while playing for the Boston Bruins but beat them last night, 5-2.
Early in the season, Peeters suffered leg cramps against Pittsburgh when the weather was warm, but last night, in spite of standing around for long periods of time watching the two teams fight, he turned away 26 of the Flyers' 28 shots and after the game said he wasn't bothered by the heat.
He stopped several shots from close range and Dave Poulin on a breakaway in the first period. The only blotches were a first-period goal by Ilkka Sinisalo from a few feet away and a third-period goal that his own teammate knocked in.
"Our goaltending was a big difference," said Capitals Coach Bryan Murray. "The saves Peeters made, versus their goaltender, were the difference. When the game's on the line, he plays well. In the third period, he plays his best."
Said defenseman Larry Murphy, "I thought Pete Peeters played a tremendous game. He made the big saves when we needed them. That's a sign of a good goaltender. He's done that before. It was a big game and we needed even more from him."
Breaking rotation, Murray started Peeters for the second straight game. Since Peeters was acquired by the Capitals in mid-November, Murray has alternated him each game with Al Jensen. Last night, he decided to go with Peeters after he defeated New Jersey the previous night, 4-3.
"I think he was scared we were getting in a rut going back and forth with the goalies," said Murphy.
Said Peeters, who played with Philadelphia before going to Boston: "He came to me and told me he was going to break the rotation. I said, 'Yeah, I'd love it.' I like to play back-to-back games.
"I was pretty motivated against New Jersey. As a goalie, you have to prepare for every game. I think playing against an old team gets you up. Emotionally, I might have been a little more into it . . . "
"I thought our defense, except for a handful of shots, kept everything wide and far out," said Peeters. "The important thing is to move the puck quick . . . If you dilly-dally in your own end with the puck, you're just buying time for the other team to check you."