The Bruins received a surprise and very welcome visit from Nathan Horton following their 4-0 victory over the Canucks tonight.
The first-line forward, sidelined for the season with a concussion suffered on a violent hit by Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in Game 3, popped into the locker room after the game to congratulate his teammates on a job well done.
Coincidentally, such praise applied to the man who replaced Horton on the top line as much as anyone in a Bruins sweater tonight.
Rich Peverley did a fine Horton imitation skating alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic, scoring a pair of goals — the first and last of the game — in the Bruins’ series-tying victory.
“It was great to see Horty,” said Peverley, who has four goals and seven assists in 21 games this postseason. “He didn’t say much, just told us we did a great job. Horty is a great guy, and it was great to see him and see that he’s doing OK.”
Horton did more than tell the Bruins they did a great job. He presented the ceremonial Bruins jacket — a symbol awarded to the player of the game by his teammates after each victory this postseason — to Peverley. The players had left the jacket in Horton’s locker after he had been injured in their Game 3 win.
“I was very, very happy to see Nathan up and around in the locker room,” said goalie Tim Thomas. “I wasn’t exactly sure of his status. You know, I’d heard that he was OK, but then I heard it was a severe concussion. I didn’t know if ‘OK’ meant he’s going to live or…
“When I personally got to see him in the locker room, I was incredibly happy and it gave me a big boost. He was there to pass the jacket on. We didn’t pass the jacket on the last game with him gone. I think the team would have been happy leaving it with Horty for the rest of this series, but he wanted to give it away and keep the tradition going
that we’d started. So actually he gave it to Peverley.”
It’s apparent that like Horton, Peverley has earned the respect of his teammates since coming over in a trade with the Thrashers at the deadline.
“Pevs can play on all lines, he can play on the scoring line, he can play on the checking line, he’s real versatile,” said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. “It’s awesome, it’s good to have that depth on this team.”
Added Thomas: “[Rich] got the first goal and the last goal. That first goal and the fourth goal are very important goals. We wouldn’t have won without the way he played.”
“Pevs does so many things,” said forward Shawn Thornton. “No one in here had any doubt that he was going to be up for whatever he was asked to do tonight.”
According to coach Claude Julien, that was more than just joining Krejci (two assists) and Lucic on the offensive.
“We had different looks. We saw [Michael] Ryder go up there a few times as well when Rich was killing penalties. Pev’s got good speed. Their line had forechecks pretty well with Lucic on one side. We thought we’d keep that going. He still has pretty
Julian said Peverley’s versatility was one reason the Bruins targeted him at the trading deadline.
“We’ve used him on the power play, we’ve used him on the penalty killing units. He moved up on the Horton spot and moved well. He comes to play every day,” Julien said. “He’s a very serious athlete, takes good care of himself. Right now he’s being rewarded.”