October 9, 2011

Peverley strikes twice, appears to be perfect fit on second line

Rich Peverley had two goals on five shots in the Bruins 4-1 win over the Bolts. (Getty)

BOSTON – Many Bruins fan have been clamoring for Tyler Seguin to be thrust into a top-six role, particularly as the right flank on Patrice Bergeron’s line. But for those that have seen just how well Rich Peverley has clicked alongside Bergeron and fellow winger Brad Marchand, breaking up that line seems like an awfully boneheaded idea.

Peverley tallied twice on Saturday night, lifting the Bruins to a 4-1 victory over the Lightning as Boston played markedly better than in their season-opening tilt against the Flyers.

“Well the first one was lucky,” Peverley said when asked about his two goals. “’Marchy’ shot it, it hit both posts and just laid there for me. The second one ‘Bergy’ made a nice behind-the-back play and (the puck) just got in some skates and (I) just (had to) clean up the garbage there.”

Any attempt to draw comparisons between Peverley and Mark Recchi, the former occupant of his current spot, would likely be futile, but No. 49 has played in a very similar fashion to No. 28 early on this season. The former Thrasher has shown a strong willingness to go to the net and, as was seen tonight, he was rewarded for it on two occasions.

The offensively-gifted, fleet-footed Peverley isn’t renown for a wrecking-ball style like Recchi was, but if that’s the recipe to success with his linemates, so be it.

“Well he’s obviously a Hall of Famer for a reason,” Peverley said of Recchi. “He did a great job over his career and I’m not trying to be him, I’m just trying to play my game and use my speed. And hopefully I can get goals whatever which way they come.”

All in all, the trio put nine pucks on netminder Mathieu Garon, and remained the most consistent offensive threat up front for Boston for a second straight game.

“Well I think as long as we’re getting chances we’re going to be happy,” said Peverley. “And if we continue to get chances we’re going to win like tonight. We all did a good job of shooting the puck and getting second chances and that’s how we scored the goals.”

Marchand, who buried the Bruins only goal in their 2-1 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday night, believes the three are only going to continue to get better as they become more accustomed to one another’s tendencies.

“I think we played better tonight than we did last game,” said Marchand, who chipped in two assists and now has three points in the first two games. “I think the more we’re practicing and playing together the more confident we’re getting where each other is going to be and making plays together. Hopefully as the season goes on we’ll be able to continue to grow and get better, but we played better tonight.”

Once a regular on one of Atlanta’s top two lines and power play units, Peverley first found himself assigned to third-line duties with Boston upon his arrival. Now in his first full year with the club, the speedy forward appears to be taking advantage of the opportunity to play heavy minutes given to him by coach Claude Julien.

“He feels he’s gotten better since he’s come here because of the inter-competition in practice and guys pushing each other, not letting each other off the hook,” said Julien. “That’s helped, but at the same time, when he came to us from Atlanta, he was in the top two lines, that’s where he played. And then, with the depth that we had last year, we just felt that him on the third line, [Chris] Kelly on that line, just gave us such good depth that we felt really comfortable with those top three lines scoring with [Michael] Ryder, and they proved that against Montreal in that series.

“I don’t think we ever doubted he could play in the top six. I think he just seems to be getting better with our group, and he feels more comfortable.”

He sure looked it on Saturday night.