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.

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while thinking about and praying for the people of Manchester, England. It’s obviously an evil, cowardly act to bomb any public place, but to do it at a concert filled with women and children is the lowest of the low.

*The Capitals players are acknowledging that there’s some kind of mental block with the Stanley Cup playoffs. CSN Mid-Atlantic has all the details.

*It’s been a very odd postseason for the NHL where there are so many non-traditional teams still alive with the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Fina, and the Ottawa Senators fighting for their lives in the Eastern Conference Final. On that note, there is a ton of disappointment at the empty seats at the Canadian Tire Centre for Ottawa’s home games in the playoffs. It sounds like there are going to be empty seats tonight for a do-or-die Game 6 in Ottawa. That is an embarrassment for a Canadian city that’s supposed to pride itself on their love of hockey. Let’s hope the Senators fans have a last-minute surge to buy tickets and show some appreciation for a Senators team that’s given the Ottawa fans a totally unexpected ride through the postseason this spring. I mean, Erik Karlsson at the top of his game is worth the price of admission all by himself.  

*The Pittsburgh Penguins have the Senators on the ropes, and it’s been an impressive showing given that they’re doing it without Kris Letang.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the ownership for the St. Louis Blues giving their GM Doug Armstrong a vote of confidence.

*Another early exit from the playoffs is going to start making some players expendable on the New York Rangers roster.

*Here’s a good piece on how David Poile built the Nashville Predators, who have reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. Give credit where it’s due: He manned up and made a big move dealing away Shea Weber straight up for PK Subban. It’s really worked for Music City as they’ve stepped to the next level.

*Speaking of Nashville’s rise this spring in a wide open Western Conference, Pekka Rinne has silenced the critics he might have had by carrying his team to the Cup Final.

*For something completely different: Boston law enforcement is on high alert after the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in the UK.

 

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right.