WILMINGTON — As a Game 1 observer, Rich Peverley saw that his teammates turned in one of their best performances of the year.
“We played a great game,” said the Bruins forward. “That was fun to watch.”
Peverley hopes it will be even more fun to play in Game 2. Peverley, a healthy scratch for Wednesday’s 4-1 win, is on track to return to the lineup Saturday.
Peverley practiced on the third line at Ristuccia Arena Friday, skating alongside Chris Kelly and Jaromir Jagr. Kaspars Daugavins, the No. 3 left wing in Game 1, was one of the spare forwards along with Carl Soderberg and Jay Pandolfo.
“I’ve always prided myself on playoff play,” Peverley said. “If I get a chance to play, hopefully I can prove I can be a valuable piece to the team.”
Scratching Peverley in Game 1 was a surprise. Since he and Kelly arrived (from Atlanta and Ottawa), they have played together for segments of the last three seasons. They have been regular penalty-killing partners. The coaching staff likes having the right-shot Peverley and left-shot Kelly on the same line for faceoff duty. During the regular season, Peverley won 58.4 percent of his faceoffs, Kelly 57.9.
Daugavins had two shots in 9:52 of ice time in Game 1. The third line combined for five of the Bruins’ 40 shots. They were responsible defensively but did not show much offensive chemistry. On Thursday, Claude Julien noted that the line has not seen much action together, especially compared with the other three units.
“You’ve got to remember one thing: That’s the only line of all our lines that hasn’t been together,” the coach said. “You look at the first two lines, those guys have been together forever, including the fourth line.
“I’m going to cut them a little bit of slack. Jags missed the last two games where there was an opportunity to build a little bit of chemistry with some players.”
If Peverley returns, he should give the Bruins speed, offensive creativity, and more lineup options. He has played on every line since arriving in Boston.
Peverley also brings postseason experience. Last year, he had three goals and two assists against the Capitals in the first round. In 2011, Peverley recorded four goals and eight assists in 25 playoff games.
“For myself, it hasn’t been what I expected the year to be,” said Peverley (6-12—18 in 47 games). “This is something I was looking forward to — play well at the end of the season and play well in the playoffs. I take a lot of pride in that.”
In Game 1, James van Riemsdyk was the only Toronto forward who was a consistent offensive threat. In the first period, van Riemsdyk set up in front of the net during a power play. The big left wing was positioned perfectly to tap in a Cody Franson pass for Toronto’s first and only goal.
In the second period, van Riemsdyk nearly potted his second during a Toronto penalty kill. He carried the puck with speed into the zone and rattled a shot off the crossbar. Seconds later, Bruins defenseman Wade Redden broke a 1-1 tie. Had van Riemsdyk scored, the Leafs could have taken a 2-1 lead into first intermission.
With Phil Kessel misfiring, van Riemsdyk might be the forward most worthy of shadowing in Game 2. Van Riemsdyk led all Leafs with five shots in Game 1.
The former University of New Hampshire standout has a history of postseason production against the Bruins. Two years ago with the Flyers, van Riemsdyk scored two goals and ripped off eight shots against the Bruins in Game 2 of the second round.
“He’s good around the net area,” Julien said. “He’s got a big body. He puts himself in good positions. He’s got a knack of scoring some goals, especially in tight.
“He’s been a good player, a first-round pick. With the skating and size that he has, he’s certainly a guy that you have to know when he’s out there on the ice.”
On Friday, van Riemsdyk practiced on the No. 2 line with Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin.
The Bruins spent part of practice working on the power play. Dougie Hamilton did not participate in the drills. Zdeno Chara was the point man on the first unit. Redden and Dennis Seidenberg worked the point on the No. 2 unit . . . Former Boston University defenseman Eric Gryba of the Senators was suspended two games for his hit on Montreal’s Lars Eller Thursday. Julien, a former defenseman, didn’t think Gryba threw a dirty hit. Eller was looking for an up-the-gut pass from Raphael Diaz when Gryba connected. “I remember when I played, if something like that happened, we were mad at our own player for the suicide pass,” Julien said. “That’s the way it was then. How it is today, maybe it’s different.”