Peverley, third line one of few bright spots for Bruins

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Peverley, third line one of few bright spots for Bruins

It was only a matter of time for Rich Peverley and the Bruins third line.

Things finally broke through offensively against the Buffalo Sabres after a struggle through the first six games of the season. Of course the offense came at a cost as the Bs lost the game by a 7-4 score at TD Garden on Thursday night, but Peverleys offense became a high point in an otherwise forgettable evening of hockey for the hometown team.

The goal was a thing of beauty for the entire third line with new left wing Daniel Paille helping to create a dogged mindset where they were hunting pucks and attacking the net.

It all started with a strong shift culminating in a Chris Kelly fore-check in the corner that doubled as complete harassment of Buffalo defenseman Alexander Sulzer.

Kellys tireless work ended with the center popping a bouncing shot at the side of the Buffalo net that had trouble written all over it. The puck landed near the left post, and Paille immediately went into attack mode while whacking the loose biscuit with defenders swarming all around the net.

The puck finally deflected out to Peverley in the slot, and the crafty right winger waited, waited and waited patiently until Ryan Miller dropped in anticipation of the shot. Thats when Peverley cranked it into the upper portion of the open cage for Bostons first goal that got things chugging for a Black and Gold attack that fell short in the end.

We had a lot of chances Thursday night, and I thought our energy level was good, said Peverley. Weve been getting some chances, our line, in the past couple games and its good to get a goal, but we have to defend better.

The Peverley score represented the first goal for Bostons third line for an entire season thats now seven games old, and the first goal of the season for the third line right winger.

There was no jubilation or relief, however.

There was only an air of disappointment in Peverley at the opportunities the Bruins skaters couldnt capitalize on when it was still a one goal game in the third period. But the third line right wing also led the Bruins with six shots on net, and has 15 shots on net in the last three games for Boston.

So Peverley was due.

It was a matter of time, they were getting some chances and its nice to see Rich Peverley score, Said Claude Julien. I think he had a great opportunity shortly after he could have had two quick goals there.

Those are encouraging signs. If we can rectify the defensive part that cost us tonight and keep working on the offensive game that our guys are producing, then well be okay.

What remains to be seen is how the third line will be comprised when they again take the ice Saturday night in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. Paille went off after absorbing a high-stick to the face at the end of the third period, and that could prompt Chris Bourques return to the mix with Peverley and Kelly as it had been in the previous six games. Or it could be Jamie Tardif just called up from Providence on Friday morning as an emergency recall.

If they can keep up the intensity and dogged, energetic style of play that characterized their shifts Thursday night, theyll do just fine with anybody lucky enough to be riding shotgun with them on the left wing.

Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

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Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

GOLD STAR: Solid night’s work from Ryan Spooner, who finished with the OT game-winning strike and was solid throughout the game as the de facto No. 1 center. He had four shots on net, six generated shot attempts and won 12-of-19 face offs as he continues to improve in that area while training camp rolls along. Spooner is trying to hold onto the No. 3 center spot in the lineup despite the addition of David Backes via free agency, and Friday night’s big boy performance with speed, playmaking and skill showed exactly what his potential can be when he puts it all together. It was also a nice little bounce-back from an up-and-down game on Wednesday night against the same Detroit team when he struggled in the face off circle and was part of a team-wide malaise.

BLACK EYE: It wasn’t necessarily a bad night for Brian Ferlin, but it was more of the invisible variety with just a registered hit and one face-off taken in 13 minutes of ice time. The forward earned some NHL time with the Bruins a couple of years, has battled concussion woes over the last year plus and is trying to push his way back into the crowded forward picture during this training camp. While he certainly showed some toughness and skill around the net a couple of years and didn’t seem shy about going there on Friday night, the results just weren’t there and Ferlin didn’t have much of a presence in the game. In general it was a pretty decent performance for the Bruins, so Ferlin’s game was quiet more than problematic.

TURNING POINT: Credit the Bruins coaching staff for switching up the lines in the third period, and that sparked the offense a bit after zero goals through the first 40 minutes against Detroit. Zach Senyshyn was moved with Danton Heinen and Riley Nash, and they became a threat in the third period before Heinen broke through for the game-tying goal from his knees. That score allowed the B’s to push things into overtime, and then Spooner made it a quick extra session by snapping home a shot from the slot after a good effort from Joe Morrow down low. It all was made possible by the adjustment to the lines that took place between the second and the third periods.

HONORABLE MENTION: Joe Morrow is battling to hold onto his NHL roster spot with the Bruins, and that is absolutely underscored by the news that Christian Ehrhoff is being brought to Boston on a PTO. So it was expected that the young D-man would come out with something a little extra after a mediocre performance in his preseason debut, and the left shot D-man was an impact player in the win for the Black and Gold. Morrow dropped the gloves with young tough guy Givani Smith in the second period as part of a B’s group that played with a little bit of an edge on Friday night, and then he won a battle down low in overtime to set up the Ryan Spooner game-winner. Morrow had two hits, two shot attempts, the assist and the fight in 19:48 of ice time, and showed that he’s ready to battle in camp to hold onto his spot.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of goals in two preseason games thus far for Danton Heinen, who scored important game-tying goals in both instances in the shootout loss to the Blue Jackets and Friday night’s overtime win against the Wings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “The compete level, especially when he got down 4-0 [on Wednesday night], I don’t think it was high enough. So we talked about it, and we expect a better effort for sure.” –Ryan Spooner on Friday morning prior to going out and snatching the win away from the Red Wings in Detroit with an OT game-winner. 

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

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Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

The Bruins will add another veteran defenseman to their training camp group fresh off the World Cup of Hockey as German D-man Christian Ehrhoff is headed to Boston on a PTO (professional tryout agreement). CSN has confirmed that Ehrhoff has indeed agreed to a PTO with the Bruins, and he'll report to the team sometime this weekend.

The 34-year-old Ehrhoff had three assists in six World Cup games for Team Europe, and had two goals and 10 points in 48 games for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season while clearly starting to slow down a bit. He’s clearly no longer the player that averaged 14 goals and 47 points for the Vancouver Canucks from 2009-2011, and is another left-shot defenseman to add to a team that already has Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

But it behooved the Bruins to bring in at least one “name” veteran D-man on a tryout basis during this training camp with so many needs for upgrades on the back end, and with a host of young players that might not be ready for prime time. This might also be a warning sign for young veteran Joe Morrow, a left shot D-man that has struggled a bit in training camp after coming off an erratic first full season at the NHL level.

Clearly the Bruins need more than Ehrhoff, however, even if he’s somehow re-energized with the Bruins after playing pretty well in the World Cup. The Kings were down enough on his game to put him through waivers last season, but he was a top-4 defenseman for the previous eight seasons for San Jose, Vancouver, Buffalo and Pittsburgh prior to getting bounced around between the Kings and Blackhawks last season.

The added bonus with taking a look at Ehrhoff is that there’s no risk associated with a PTO, and the Bruins can simply walk away with no cost if the B’s coaching staff decides he’s not a good fit for the group in Boston. On the other hand, bringing in a Kris Russell-type would cost a great deal in terms of money and term in a free agent contract, and it might not benefit the Black and Gold club in the end result.