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.