(SportsNetwork.com) - Bill Peters was able to enjoy playoff hockey for each of his three seasons serving as an assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings, but the current bench boss of Carolina has a uphill battle ahead of him if he is to get his Hurricanes club to the postseason.
The first-year head coach faces his former team on Sunday evening as the Hurricanes play host to the Red Wings.
Peters spent the previous three seasons as an assistant on Detroit head coach Mike Babcock's staff, working primarily with the Red Wings' defensemen and penalty kill units. He was then picked by Carolina in June to replace the fired Kirk Muller, becoming the 13th head coach in franchise history.
Sunday will mark the first time he faces the Red Wings and Babcock as a NHL head coach.
"Time will tell," Peters told the Raleigh News and Observer. "It's going to be an exiting day to play Detroit and coach against 'Babs,' but I'll be focused on what we have to do in that game and getting the two points."
Sunday will also see 23-year-old Andrej Nestrasil face the Red Wings for the first time. He was a third-round pick by Detroit in 2009 and made his NHL debut with the club this season, notching a pair of assists in 13 games. He was waived by Detroit in the hopes of returning him to the minor leagues, but Carolina claimed him on Nov. 20.
Nestrasil has a goal and an assist in six games with the Hurricanes.
Carolina is last in the Metropolitan Division and has lost two of three so far on a five-game homestand that ends on Monday versus New Jersey. The Hurricanes were bested 4-2 by the Washington Capitals on Thursday last time out.
The Caps got a tie-breaking goal from Eric Fehr with 4:02 remaining as he capitalized on a turnover by Riley Nash.
"We need better puck management late in the game," said Peters.
Alexander Semin scored his first goal in 20 games this season, tying the contest 3:19 into the third period. The tally was the 500th point of his career.
Semin, a former 40-goal scorer who had 22 tallies for the Hurricanes last season, had logged just five assists through his first 19 games.
With Cam Ward out due to a lower-body injury, Anton Khudobin got the start and made 26 saves. Despite the solid effort, he fell to 0-6-2 this season with a 2.88 goals against average and .903 save percentage.
It is unknown if Ward is healthy enough to start today or if Khudobin will face Detroit for the first time in his career. Ward is 2-4-1 versus the Red Wings with a 2.70 GAA and .929 save percentage.
Detroit concludes a set of back-to-back games today after rallying to beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Saturday. Darren Helm got the go-ahead goal 7:40 into the third period.
The Red Wings trailed 2-0 deep into the second period before getting goals from Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendening just over a minute apart. Jimmy Howard stoned the Rangers over the final two frames, finishing with 26 saves in the 500th victory of Babcock's career.
"(Howard) just put up a wall of plywood there," said Babcock. "If they get three (goals), we don't win, so it was a real good job by Howie in the final 40 minutes."
Detroit won three of four on its homestand and has picked up a victory in eight of 10 overall.
Babcock is expected to give backup Petr Mrazek the start tonight, the first of his career against the Hurricanes. He has won both of his starts this season, giving up seven goals on 56 shots faced.
The Red Wings have won six of their past eight versus the 'Canes, winning in overtime in their only trip to Carolina last season.