Just two games into the new campaign, it appears the search can be called off.
Showing that the chemistry he showed with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand in the preseason was no fluke, Rich Peverley has carried that success into the games that count. Peverley scored twice and led the bruins with five shots as Boston earned its first victory of the season with a 4-1 triumph over Tampa Bay Saturday night at the Garden.
"I think as long as we're getting chances we're going to be happy," Peverley said. "And if we continue to get chances we're going to win like tonight. We all did a good job of shooting the puck and getting second chances and that's how we scored the goals."
Peverley opened the scoring 2:04 into the second period when he banged in a rebound from the right slot after Marchand clanged a shot off of both posts. Peverley added the final goal at 8:43 of the third on another rebound, this time after Bergeron's initial bid.
"We're reading off each other pretty well," Bergeron said. "On that play [Peverley] knew I was going there so he just went there in case there was going to be a rebound. It was a smart play by him to go there.
"We're creating a lot of chances off the rush and in the zone with the forecheck and by the way we keep moving our feet," Bergeron added of the line, which combined for five points and a plus-6 rating on Saturday. "I thought we had a lot of chances last game as well and we didn't finish. Tonight it was the same thing, but we found a way [to score]."
The line took advantage of its best attribute to create those chances, using its speed to keep the Tampa defense on its heels and put the Bruins on the board.
"That's all we're based on, our speed and quickness," Marchand said. "You see a lot of our opportunities are off the rush or quick plays out of the corner, so we have to continue to use our assets."
Marchand also used his other primary asset. Namely, his ability to get under the opposition's skin. He upset fellow agitator Steve Downie enough to create a large scrum in the first, then engaged Dominic Moore in another wrestling match in second.
"I just gave him a little tap and he grabbed me by the head," Marchand said of Moore. "He just kind of jumped down and held on tight. I don't like that guy. He was bothering me a bit.
"It's part of my game and it gets me more involved," Marchand added of playing the role of a pest. "It felt a little sleepy to start off so I wanted to get involved in some way and that's the way to do it. After that it felt pretty good."
Marchand finished with a pair of assists after scoring Boston's only goal on Thursday, as he has picked up right where he left off in last spring's brilliant playoff run.
"That was my goal coming in, to try to duplicate what I was doing in playoffs and play the same way," Marchand said. "I think a lot of that is confidence and as long as I keep that up, then hopefully I'll be able to contribute the same way."
The entire line is clicking right now, with Peverley moving seamlessly into Recchi's spot. Peverley is making it clear that he's not trying to replace Recchi, but trying to add a different dimension of his own to the line with his speed.
"He's obviously a Hall of Famer for a reason," Peverley said of Recchi. "He did a great job over his career and I'm not trying to be him. I'm just trying to play my game and use my speed. And hopefully I can get goals whatever which way they come."
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