March 26th, 2012 by

Peverley returns after 19 game absence; adds forward depth

Rich Peverley, Boston Bruins, Boston, NHL, Boston Bruins picturesTD Garden, Boston Bruins Blogs

(S. Babineau/Getty Images) Rich Peverley's presence back in the Bruins lineup now adds much needed depth at forward.

When the Boston Bruins acquired Rich Peverley last year at the trade deadline, many Bruins fans didn’t know what to think. But when the 29-year-old undrafted forward played a substantial role in the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run last season, fans knew the B’s found an underappreciated and undervalued piece to the puzzle.

Since Peverley was sidelined with an MCL sprain on February 16th,  the Bruins have struggled as an offensive unit—especially without right-wing Nathan Horton as well. Peverley returned on Sunday night versus the Anaheim Ducks where the black and gold notched a 3-2 win—putting them five points ahead of the Ottawa Senators with one game in hand.

Peverley skated for 13:06, and although rusty, still has made the  Bruins a deeper offensive team. Without the presence of Horton, No. 49 will need to return to form; last night the speedy right-winger had an opportunity right out of the gate when Patrice Bergeron laid a perfect pass to Peverley on the fly, cutting towards the net where he was denied by Ducks’ goalie Jonas Hiller.

Prior to the injury, Peverley notched 38 points in 49 games played—nine goals and 29 assists (second on the team at the time). Peverley then went on to miss the next 19 games, and the B’s struggled without him, posting a mere 8-10-1 record. Peverley’s presence in the lineup alongside Bergeron and Brad Marchand gives Claude Julien much more depth at the forward position.

Peverley knows it will take time to get his skills and quickness back, but getting back into game action will help significantly.

“The biggest thing for me was handling the puck and pace of play, that will come with time,” he said. “You can’t mimic the battling in the corners and that’s where you lose your wind a little bit.”

The Bruins look to win two in a row when they take on the Tampa Lightning tomorrow night at TD Garden, with Peverley making his home debut since his knee injury.

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