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.