BOSTON -- In the Bruins' 6-3 preseason win over the Islanders, winger Rich Peverley made it easy for coach Claude Julien to decide who should take Mark Recchi’s spot on the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. In that game, Peverley scored two goals and utilized his blazing speed to play the two-way game that line prides itself on.
Two games into the season, Peverley is doing that once again. He lit the lamp twice in a 4-1 Bruins win over the Lightning on Saturday and showed that he is fitting in just fine with his new linemates.
From the sounds of it, Julien knew Peverley would work well with Bergeron and Marchand.
“The one thing he said, and if you ask him he’ll probably repeat it, but he really felt that coming here, what he noticed is how hard everybody competed in practice and just pushed everybody to get better,” Julien said. “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. 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 a, I guess, 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.”
Bergeron said Peverley’s speed helps create chances.
“I mean I feel we are creating a lot of chances off the rush and even in zone by our forecheck and by the way we keep moving our feet,” Bergeron said. “I thought we had a lot of chances last game as well and we didn’t finish and tonight same thing and we found a way.”
A humble Peverley said he knew he couldn't truly replace a future Hall of Famer in Recchi, but that he is doing his best to let his speed help him blend in with his new linemates.
“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.”