Peverley rusty, happy to be back on the ice

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Peverley rusty, happy to be back on the ice

ANAHEIM, CA Rich Peverley had missed 19 games and roughly six weeks due to the sprained MCL in his right knee, but his wait to return to action was over at the tail end of the Pacific Division road trip.

The shifty right winger was slotted back into the lineup against the Anaheim Ducks and even had a golden scoring chance on one of his first shifts of the game in Bostons 3-2 win over the Ducks at the Honda Center.

Peverley finished skating 16:44 of ice time on 23 shifts and had a pair of shots on net in an encouraging, albeit rusty, first game back into the Black and Gold fold.

I had a lot of chances. The biggest thing for me was handling the puck and the pace of play. That will come with time, said Peverley. You cant mimic the battling in the corners and thats where you lose your wind a little bit. I was a little nervous. I havent been nervous like that in a long time. I felt better as the game went along as far as skating and making plays.

The scoring opportunities dont get any sweeter than the wide open chance he had from the slot when Patrice Bergeron had taken the puck from Cam Fowler and fed it to his linemate crashing toward the net.

Peverley let it fly, but Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller was able to snuff it out with his glove hand, shutting the door on the sentimental return from injury story that might have been in the making. Instead Peverley was solid skating with Bergeron and Brad Marchand while Tyler Seguin was relocated to a line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

Peverley knows that he has plenty to improve upon as he gets more attuned to the action going on around him.

You could see his creativity out there. If it wasnt for the rust this guy would have had some points out there tonight, said Claude Julien of Peverley. He was in the right places and he was doing the right things, but somehow the puck was just rolling off his stick. Or hed bobble it or whatever. That to me is attributable to not having played for a long time, but he skated well. I liked his energy and I liked his positioning. He handled the ice time well and he was sharper than I expected.

I had Jordan Caron in the lineup to give Peverley some breaks during the game if he needed it, but he didnt seem to need it much at all.

With the Bruins already hitting their stride, its going to be a boon getting Peverley back after the team scuffled with an 8-10-1 record once he went down with the knee injury on Feb. 15.

Red Wings' Vanek, Nielsen score in 6-5 SO win over Bruins

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Red Wings' Vanek, Nielsen score in 6-5 SO win over Bruins

DETROIT - Thomas Vanek and Frans Nielsen scored in a shootout, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a comeback 6-5 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

The Red Wings rallied from 3-0 and 4-1 deficits in the first period, and with 3:04 remaining in regulation, Gustav Nyquist scored to pull them into a tie.

In the shootout, Tuukka Rask and Petr Mrazek stopped the first shots they faced before Vanek scored for the Red Wings and Brad Marchand countered with a goal for the Bruins. Nielsen, who like Vanek joined the team last summer as a free agent, scored on the team's third attempt and Vatrano missed the net with a chance to extend the 1-on-1 duels.

The Bruins were dominant early before blowing a chance to keep Detroit at a distance in the Atlantic Division standings.

No late-game heroics for Celtics as they lose to Knicks, 117-106

No late-game heroics for Celtics as they lose to Knicks, 117-106

BOSTON – Lately, shots seemed to fall for just about every player the Boston Celtics put on the floor. You knew sooner or later, Boston would have one of those nights when those same shots wouldn’t fall.

And then there’s the New York Knicks at the opposite end of that spectrum, a team that was overdue for a good night of basketball after having lost 11 of their previous 13 games.

Both worlds collided on Wednesday night, resulting in a 117-106 loss for the Celtics.

Not even the usual late-game scoring heroics of Isaiah Thomas could save the Celtics this time. He led all scorers with 39 points but only eight came in the fourth.  

Trailing 88-83 going into the fourth quarter, Boston (26-16) had been within striking distance on a number of occasions earlier in the night, only to have the Knicks (19-24) rebuff them with a made basket, or a rebound or a rebound that led to a made basket.

It was that kind of game for the Celtics, seemingly playing uphill most of the night.

No player exhibited Boston’s struggles more than Al Horford.

The four-time All-Star had arguably his worst game as a Celtic, scoring just five points while missing 12 of his 14 field goal attempts.  

Even though Boston spent most of the game trailing, it was hard to not think the Celtics would do what we’ve seen them do time and time again of late and that’s find a way to win in the fourth quarter.

After all, the fourth quarter has been good to the Celtics – especially Isaiah Thomas.

He leads the NBA in fourth quarter points at 10.1 per game, the kind of fourth quarter scoring the league has never seen before.

But Thomas never found any kind of late-game rhythm, a similar experience felt by most of his teammates.

It wasn’t just bad shooting that ultimately sunk the Celtics.

Rebounding, which has been a problem for them all season, was a major factor in Wednesday’s outcome as well.

For the game, New York out-rebounded Boston 57-33. Many of those boards were on the offensive glass which was a major factor in the Knicks holding a 24-12 advantage on second-chance points.

And as impressive as Thomas has been in elevating his game in the fourth quarter this season, the Knicks were being led by an equally determined Derrick Rose.

The former league MVP looked like his old self instead of just old, dribble-driving his way in and out of the paint, raising up for stop-on-the-dime jumpers. He would finish with a team-high 30 points.

The Celtics led 34-31 after the first quarter, but spent most of the night afterwards playing catchup to a New York Knicks team that came in having lost 11 of its previous 13 games.

NOTE

Both Boston and New York were missing key players with a sore Achilles injury. For the Celtics, they were without Avery Bradley (right Achilles) and the Knicks were missing Kristaps Porzingis (left Achilles).