BOSTON -- When Bruins forward Rich Peverley arrived Tuesday morning for practice at TD Garden, he found a green sweater hanging in his locker, meaning he wasn’t skating with one of the top four lines.
Based on the Bruins’ practice, it would appear as though Peverley will be a healthy scratch -- along with Jay Pandolfo and Carl Soderberg -- for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but Bruins coach Claude Julien said not to make any assumptions.
“That doesn’t mean that’s my lineup, just so you guys know,” Julien said. “I put some lines together today, but my lineup has not been done yet and it will only get finalized tomorrow. I want everybody ready and that’s the way it is right now. We have line combinations today, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the way it’s going to be.”
Peverley, who has only six goals and 12 assists for 18 points, including a minus-9 rating in 47 games this season, was one of the last players on the ice after practice and said he understands the situation if he’s watching from press level.
“It’s coach’s decision and if that’s what he chooses for [Wednesday] then it’s what’s best for the team, and if that’s me out of the lineup and we win, it’s great.
“If that’s what happens you take it as motivation, but at the same time you just really want to do what’s best for the team. If I have to go out and practice hard and make our guys better then I’ll do that.”
When the Bruins acquired Peverley from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for forward Blake Wheeler and defenseman Mark Stuart on Feb. 18, 2011, Boston received the type of veteran presence it needed on the team’s third line. Peverley, Chris Kelly (also acquired at the trade deadline in ’11) and Michael Ryder played a big role in the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run.
Peverley had four goals and eight assists for 12 points in 25 playoff games to help the Bruins hoist the Cup.
In the 2011-2012 postseason, the Washington Capitals ousted the Bruins in the first round, but again, Peverley played well and posted three goals and two assists for five points.
Peverely, whose three-year, $9.75 million extension – signed after 2011 – started this year, struggled much of the season.
“I would probably say disappointing,” he said. “I tried to end the year on a good note. You evaluate your own game and I’ve thought about it a lot the last couple of days. It’s disappointing and not what I expected, which is very unfortunate but it’s a new season and hopefully things go well from here.”
Peverley missed only one game this season when he was a healthy scratch on March 21 at Ottawa.
“There’s no doubt, when he looks at his stats, it’s disappointing,” Julien said. “We all know that Pevs is a better player than he’s shown, but he’s right, I think he’s been getting better lately and skating a lot better than he has all year. I think his stats are a little disappointing for him, but we’ve seen how good a player he can be, we certainly have hopes in him being a good player for us in the playoffs.”
If Bruins’ lineup for Game 1 does not include Peverley, it appears the team’s third line will consist of Jaromir Jagr, Kelly and Kaspars Daugavins. But given Peverley’s playoff experience and success, he says he’ll be ready if given the opportunity.
“I definitely feel like I’m energized going into the playoffs and I’m looking forward to it,” Peverley said. “It’s something that after you have a not adequate season you want to go forward and play well.
“I’ve always tried to play well in the playoffs in the past and it’s something I take a lot of pride in. To be able to play well in the playoffs is something you really want to hang your hat on and hopefully we can do that here.”