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With Horton out, Peverley steps up for Bruins

by Corey Masisak /

BOSTON -- Rich Peverley has been something of a jack-of-all-trades player for the Boston Bruins since arriving from Atlanta just before the trade deadline.

When they need him to kill penalties, he kills penalties. When the Bruins need him to provide energy and sound defense, he provides energy and energy and sound defense.

It shouldn't be that surprising then that when Boston needed someone to help replace the offense lost when Nathan Horton was concussed in Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, it was Peverley who not only saw time in Horton's usual place on the right side of the first line, but also had a pair of goals in a 4-0 victory against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 4 on Wednesday night.

"I think I haven't contributed as well as I think I could offensively," Peverley said. "Anytime you can help out, especially in this type of environment, you want to do so.

"You want to play as much as you can. I've been jumping into different lines, power play, penalty kill -- you want to get as many minutes as you can and any way they come doesn't matter."

When Horton was taken from the ice at TD Garden on a stretcher after a late hit by Vancouver's Aaron Rome in the first period of Game 3, Boston coach Claude Julien mixed and matched on his top line, using both Peverley and Michael Ryder next to stalwarts David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

He did that again in Game 4, with both Peverley and Ryder seeing time on the top line and with Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly on the third unit. Julien's plan worked to perfection, as Peverley scored twice while playing with Krecji and Lucic and Ryder scored a goal that was setup by the rookie Seguin, who replaced Horton on the active roster.

"[Peverley] had a great game tonight," Seguin said. "I still stand by the thought that no one player can replace a guy like Nathan Horton, but I think if everyone around steps up it is definitely going to help out the situation."

Added Julien: "We had different looks. We saw Ryder go up there a few times as well when Rich was killing penalties. I said I'd use different players at that position. [Peverley]'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 decent hands. We thought we would start with that. Michael is another guy who can fit on that line as well."

Peverley said he found out about the assignment just before warmups began. Horton has scored 8 goals for the Bruins in this postseason, including a pair of series-clinching tallies in Game 7s against Montreal and Tampa Bay.

He has been an offensive force before, scoring 35 points in 39 games after joining the Thrashers in 2008-09. Peverley saw plenty of ice time in Atlanta's top six during his time there, which lead Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher to call him a first-line caliber player during the Eastern Conference Finals.

Peverley was playing on the fourth line for the Bruins at the time. He was bumped up to the third when Shawn Thorton was added to the lineup at the start of Game 3, and has now seen action on three of the four lines in this series.

"When I was traded here I wasn't sure how I was going to fit in, but I think I found a role pretty quick and Claude put me in a role to help out the team," Peverley said. "We have a lot of depth on this team. [Ryder] jumped in on that line with Krejci and scored last game, and he scored again tonight. Up and down our lineup -- I think the fourth line played unbelievable again tonight. When everybody is going, it is going to give us the best chance."

Horton received the team's now infamous vintage jacket after scoring the winner in Game 7 against Tampa Bay, but he wasn't in the dressing room after the win Monday night, so the Bruins players decided to leave the coat in his stall.

Tim Thomas said the Bruins were happy to keep it in Horton's locker for the rest of this postseason, but they had a surprise guest in the dressing room after Game 4. Horton was there to say a few words -- and to pass on the jacket.

It was fitting that he gave it to Peverley, one of the guys charged with helping to replace him.

"It was pretty emotional," Peverley said. "Nathan came in and he is a big part of this team. Just to see him and know that he is healthy and safe is very important to us."

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