Peverley, Bergeron point way
Cup champions return winners
Rich Peverley scored a goal and collected three assists and linemate Patrice Bergeron chipped in with one goal and two assists as the Bruins battled back from a 2-0 deficit to pin a 6-3 loss on the Islanders last night at TD Garden.
The Islanders, who have all but drowned in the NHL’s back waters in recent years, took a 2-0 lead in the first period on a pair of goals by ex-Harvard forward Dylan Reese.
The Bruins pulled even with strikes by David Krejci and Bergeron in the second, only to see the Isles move ahead, 3-2, on a Trevor Frischmon strike with 2:01 remaining in the period.
Dennis Seidenberg, gambling down low on a power play, knocked in a cross-slot Peverley feed at 4:11 of the third to pull it even at 3. And with 8:17 remaining in regulation, Brad Marchand fired in the winner from the right faceoff circle to the delight a crowd of 16,555.
Johnny Boychuk and Peverley added Boston’s last two goals late in the third period to turn it into a blowout. Tim Thomas (13 saves) went the distance, as the defending Cup champion Bruins improved to 1-0-1 in the preseason.
Chara returns Exactly 100 days after hoisting the Stanley Cup high over his head in Vancouver, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara returned to action, suiting up at his familiar defensive spot.
“That time of year,’’ said Chara. “We all have to play some. Time to get ready for the regular season.’’
The real stuff begins in less than two weeks (Oct. 6), with the revamped Flyers bearing witness to the Bruins hoisting their sixth Stanley Cup banner to the Garden rafters. Chara, now 34, was the first peg put in place in the summer of 2006 overhaul when general manager Peter Chiarelli took over the fortunes of the bedraggled, underperforming franchise.
Five-plus years later, the landscape is vastly different, starting with the franchise’s first Cup since 1972. And unlike Chara’s arrival, which also had Marc Savard newly suited, the roster is a place of known commodities instead of uncertain futures. This Black-and-Gold team is much the same as the one that left Rogers Arena June 15, save for the offseason departures of Mark Recchi (retirement), Michael Ryder (soldier of fortune, not in combat with Dallas), and Tomas Kaberle (took his sagging talents to Raleigh, N.C.).
“We’ve pretty much kept the whole team,’’ noted Chara. “It’s good. We know each other. We know each other’s personalities. And we know the goal.’’
Chara, paired with Steven Kampfer, needed a slight break earlier in the week when a shot during Monday’s scrimmage left him with a bruised left leg. He reported directly to the locker room and did not return.
“I am pleased that it is not as bad as it [first] looked,’’ said Chara. “We took all the necessary steps to make sure it was not a [serious] injury. So, you have to do different [maintenance] things, and icing it is one of them, and other things . . . to make the swelling go down and stay away. Pain is a factor to handle, and a full range of motion is key.’’
Quick change Coach Claude Julien said he was impressed with the speed that Peverley brought to his line, which finished with three goals and five assists.
“No disrespect to Rex,’’ said Julien, nothing that Recchi brought grit and character to the line, “but Peverley brings and element of speed.’’
The top two lines figure to be Milan Lucic-Krejci-Nathan Horton and the Marchand-Bergeron-Peverley trio.
Comings and goings Following the victory, the Bruins shipped 14 players out of camp, including top draft pick Dougie Hamilton, who was reassigned to his Niagara Ice Dogs junior club. Other players headed back to junior included Alexander Khokhlachev (Windsor), Knight (London), and Ryan Spooner (Kingston).
As of this morning, 10 players will be practicing with the club’s AHL Providence affiliate: Andrew Bodnarchuk, Ryan Button, Marc Cantin, Carter Camper, Craig Cunningham, Josh Hennessy, Kirk MacDonald, Nathan McIver, Kevan Miller, and Jamie Tardif.
Travel plans The Bruins will be on Garden ice first thing this morning and take a flight later in the day to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where they will face the Canadiens tomorrow night. The Habs are little changed from last season, save for the addition of free agent forward Erik Cole. Alexei Yemelin, Montreal’s third-round pick in 2004, is trying to crack the Canadiens lineup. The feisty Yemelin, 25, was content to remain in the Russian KHL until this season . . . Julien said after the morning workouts that he would be more inclined to play Benoit Pouliot tomorrow against his former teammates rather than when the clubs face each other again Monday in Montreal. “He just doesn’t need that right now,’’ noted Julien. “But just don’t shoot me if I decide to do the opposite.’’ . . . The Bruins are back on Garden ice Thursday to face the Senators, their only other preseason tuneup in the Hub of Hockey.