Peverley hopes for shift in fortunes
It was a shift the Bruins’ Rich Peverley hopes to forget.
Midway through the first period of Game 1 Saturday night, after Sean Bergenheim had given the Lightning a 1-0 lead, Peverley bumped into Victor Hedman and lost his momentum. Once Peverley got his feet whirring again, Brett Clark had gained control of the puck in the neutral zone. Instead of attacking the puck carrier, Peverley leaned to his right, anticipating that Clark would make a hinge pass back to Hedman.
That was all the space Clark needed.
Clark roared past Peverley. He blew the doors off a flat-footed Michael Ryder, then dangled around Andrew Ference. To finish it off, Clark tapped a backhander under goaltender Tim Thomas’s right arm to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead.
While nearly all the Bruins were culpable on the play, none was more at fault than Peverley, the first forechecker.
“I got tripped up in the neutral zone,’’ Peverley recalled. “He gained some speed. I kind of went at him and I didn’t have a good angle. Absolutely. It was my fault. I’ve got to come with a better angle on him.’’
It was just one of several misplays that made Game 1 the worst playoff performance Peverley has submitted so far. He had just one shot in 13:58 of ice time. He lost 10 of 16 draws. Peverley was also on the ice for Bergenheim’s goal, before which he failed to clear the puck from in front of Thomas.
“We thought it was one of his tougher nights in the playoffs so far,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “But he’s one of those guys you don’t have to push. He knows. He understands. That [goal], when he’s talking about the forecheck, we’re not worried about that D-back-to-D pass. We want to make sure we stay ahead of that guy. That’s the thing he was disappointed in.’’
For all that, Peverley could be in line for a promotion.
Yesterday, Julien bumped Peverley up to the second line with Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi. Because of Peverley’s speed and awareness, the coaching staff believes the right-shot center could create more offense on the second line than Chris Kelly did in Game 1.
“He’s going to bounce back,’’ Julien said. “To me, he’s been good. It was one of his toughest games.
“But when a guy with that character has a tough game like that, he bounces back.’’
Invite for Seguin Yesterday, for the first time in the postseason, the coaching staff invited Tyler Seguin to power-play drills.
Before the start of practice, Seguin was one of 12 players assembled under the direction of assistant coach Geoff Ward, who is responsible for running the power play. Seguin took shifts with both units, usually working the left-side half-boards.
“I’ve played power play pretty much my whole life,’’ Seguin said. “I’m familiar with it. I definitely love it. It’s a good time to use your speed and quickness on quick plays. Get it off your stick right away. That’s something I like.’’
The Bruins scored power-play goals in Game 3 and 4 of the second round against Philadelphia. But they went 0 for 4 in Game 1 against the Lightning, totaling only four shots. Their biggest flaw was not gaining clean entries into the offensive zone. The Bruins rarely had speed through the neutral zone and thus couldn’t beat the Lightning to the puck.
“They take away the blue line and force you to rim it in,’’ said Ryder. “I think almost every time we rimmed the puck, we got it a lot. But a couple times, we gave it right back to them. We won the battles on the boards. We got it back to the point. Then we rushed the play and never set it up to give ourselves a chance.
“They’re going to do the same thing. They’re going to take away the blue line. You’re not going to be able to carry it in too much. I think once we start rimming, maybe it will back them off, then we can start carrying it in.’’
Tonight, the Bruins most likely will stick with the same first unit (Tomas Kaberle, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Nathan Horton) that appeared in Game 1. But Seguin could crack the second unit, which featured Peverley, Ryder, Recchi, Zdeno Chara, and Dennis Seidenberg.
“You give him a little bit to chew on, then give him opportunities, if need be, in other areas,’’ Julien said about Seguin. “He’s a young player that we care about. We want to make sure we develop him properly. That’s part of the decision we made as an organization — not to rush him through anything. The example is probably [James] van Riemsdyk in Philly with how good he’s been this year. Yet he was a healthy scratch a lot of times last year. He’s turned out to be a pretty good player.’’
Freeze it The TD Garden staff was busy yesterday installing an auxiliary refrigeration unit near the Zamboni entrance. At times during the playoffs, the ice has not been as good as the players would prefer. “It’s been really sticky and bouncy,’’ Seidenberg said about the Garden sheet before the start of the series. “Game 7 against Montreal, there were wet spots on the blue lines. It’s so weird. The puck would not stop bouncing. It’s tough.’’ . . . Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher on what he anticipates from the Bruins tonight: “We’re expecting Boston to come out flawless.’’