BOSTON —- Rich Peverley has endured a season to forget for the Boston Bruins, but it’s not too late to turn things around.
He showed a little glimmer that things might finally be brightening for him when he potted the first goal Monday night, flipping open the offensive floodgates for a season-high six goals in Boston's 6-2 win over Carolina.
It was the perfect response for No. 49 after being dropped to a fourth-line role as center between Shawn Thornton and Jordan Caron, though the traditional number labels don’t seem to apply at this point. Coach Claude Julien is spreading the offense and defense throughout his forward group to get a more balanced attack with Patrice Bergeron missing, and accomplished that on Monday night as three of the four lines contributed a goal in the victory.
The goal also ended a 10-game goalless drought for Peverley in a season that’s tested his confidence in his offensive abilities.
“It’s been a tough season, but there’s 10 games left," said Peverley, who's scored only 5 goals in 37 games. "Hopefully I can build off of this and get ready when it counts the most."
Peverley had four shots on goal and won 8-of-13 faceoffs as he scored two points and had a plus-2 rating.
“I think all the lines played well and maybe it was that little spark that we needed," he said. "All the lines seemed to work so hopefully we can build on this. You never know what can happen.
“I think I’m definitely able to [contribute more offensively]. Hopefully I can actually go out and do it. I consider myself an offensive player, so what’s been happening so far this season’s been tough. With 10 games left hopefully I can build off of this, and the playoffs are when it counts the most.”
The goal he scored Monday showed exactly the kind of use of tenacity, speed and finish that the Bruins always hope to see out of Peverley, and was truly the turning point in the game.
Tuukka Rask finished a great individual stretch by kicking away a 2-on-0 chance for the Hurricanes -- who started the night with an 11-2 advantage in shots and had the B's back on their heels -- when he somehow denied Zac Dalpe, and that fed a Peverley rush down the right wing. The Bruins winger fired a shot that Justin Peters managed to deflect off the high glass, but Peverley stayed with the shot and beat Peters to the far post with a wraparound rebound bid. That Peverley goal sparked a three-goal first period for Boston.
And his line was at it again in the second period when Peverley’s shot created a rebound that Jordan Caron pounded in for his first goal of the season. It was a nice combination of Peverley’s skill with the size and toughness of Caron and Shawn Thornton working the walls and the front of the net.
“I think we’re a good team and we do it by committee, we’ve said that for the last few years,” said Thornton. “It takes everyone so everyone wants to chip in. But I know [Peverley] is a very proud individual and he can be pretty hard on himself . . . so it’s not lack of effort.
“He’s trying. There are a lot of guys who could be stepping up as he did tonight and try to make it a little easier for everyone else.”
Bruins players like Peverley have a unique opportunity to wipe away what’s happened in the first 38 games of the season by finishing up strong in the final 10 while working up to playoff form for the Black and Gold. Boston’s shifty center got off to a good start with Monday’s winning effort against the Hurricanes, and now Peverley just needs to keep it up for the next three weeks before the B’s drop into playoff mode.