March 21, 2012

Peverley returning 'sooner rather than later' for Bruins

By Jesse Connolly

It’s been precisely five weeks since Rich Peverley’s strong season was abruptly put on hold by an MCL injury suffered up in Montreal. Originally slated to be out for at least a month, it appears the fleet-footed forward is right on track with the original diagnosis. 

Peverley traveled with the Bruins on their road trip out west and participated in Wednesday’s practice at HP Pavilion in San Jose.

“He’s a day-to-day situation where we keep giving him more all the time,” coach Claude Julien said. “I assume or predict his return will be sooner than later. That’s not to say it’ll be on this trip, but if it is, he’ll have progressed enough. We brought him on this trip so he could practice with the team and see how far we can bring him.”

Boston will take on the Sharks on Thursday night then hit up the NHL’s other two California-based clubs, with a tilt against the Kings on Saturday night and a matchup with Ducks on Sunday.

Julien said Peverley’s a no-go for Thursday, this weekend remains a possibility.

“I’m not ruling out that he won’t play on this trip, but I’m not saying that he will either,” the coach said. “It depends on how he progresses. I can’t say he’s week-to-week, so I’ve got to say day-to-day.”

In 49 games this season, Peverley has nine goals and 29 assists.

Timely turnaround

After getting dangerously close to freefall mode, dropping four straight in embarrassing fashion, the Bruins have made marked improvements over their last two tilts.

With a win over the red-hot Flyers and a drubbing of the Maple Leafs (the team’s personal slump-busting punching bag this season), the B’s appear to have righted the ship for the time being.

“Well it’s been encouraging,” Julien said. “I think it’s two games in a row now with more of an identity. We looked more like our team. Our work ethic has always been our bread and butter, and how hard we compete. I think the last couple of games have been better in those areas.”

With ten games left in the regular season, the coach certainly has objectives in mind for the Bruins’ upcoming pre-postseason stretch, during which the Bruins could surpass the 100-point plateau by securing 13 of the 20 points they can still attain.

 “Our goal right now is these last games we have to play, we have to play our best games possible in order to head into the playoffs with confidence and playing the best hockey we can,” said Julien. “If we can do that, you hope it’d bring us to 100 points. It’d be nice to get to triple digits, but the ultimate goal is to play better.”