A free agent after completing four years at St. Lawrence University, Rich Peverley was largely overlooked by scouts. Signed by Nashville, he headed to Atlanta in 2009 after being claimed on waivers by the Thrashers.
In his time with the Thrashers, he was often in the top five in scoring on the team. A trade in February 2011 took him from the Atlanta Thrashers to the Boston Bruins. He didn’t make an immediate impact; but after Game 4, he’s proved to be a valuable acquisition for the Bruins.
His numbers in the 23 games he played in the regular season in Boston were understated (seven points), and Peverley had been pretty quiet three games into the Stanley Cup Finals. But after the injury to Nathan Horton in Game 3, he stepped up to fill the void, scoring two goals in Wednesday night’s Game 4.
Coach Claude Julien rotated players taking Horton’s spot on the Bruins’ top line, and Peverley spent some time in that role in Game 4. Julien said that Peverley has “good speed” and “decent hands,” so he felt comfortable giving him more ice time with the loss of Horton.
Described in scouting reports as a playmaker, Peverley showed off his playmaking ability in Game 4. His first goal was thanks to fellow playmaker David Krejci, who sent a one-handed pass to Peverley at the blue line. After receiving the pass, Peverley turned on his ability to suddenly accelerate with a quick burst of speed, and he easily outskated Raffi Torres to create a breakaway.
The final goal of the night, Peverley’s second of the night, was another situation in which his speed was a big factor. Milan Lucic did most of the legwork, dodging Kevin Bieksa to keep the play alive. Peverley was skating hard to the net with Ryan Kesler, and legally knocked the puck into the goal as he was coming to a stop. His goal was the one that chased Roberto Luongo from the net in favor of Cory Schneider.
Goaltender Tim Thomas praised Peverley’s game and counted him as the biggest difference maker. “He was great for us tonight,” Thomas said. “The first goal and fourth goal were very important goals. We wouldn’t have won without the way he played.”
Peverley said he was honored to play on the first line for the Bruins, particularly after he went from being on the first line in Atlanta to jumping between lines in Boston. Peverley acknowledged that it was rewarding “to be able to go out and contribute. You want to be able to help the team whatever way you can.”
Nathan Horton, in attendance at the game, showed his appreciation for Peverley’s effort by giving him the team’s game jacket. Horton had been awarded the jacket after his injury in Game 3, and it had been hanging in his locker room stall. Horton gave it to Peverley after his two-goal performance. With the gesture, it seems that Horton is confident in Peverley’s ability to play in his place.
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