WILMINGTON — Rich Peverley is a hockey junky.
Whether he’s on a hot streak or in a scoring slump like the one he’s mired in right now – one goal in his last nine games – Peverley watches more hockey when he goes home and when he gets up in the morning.
Maybe his recent struggles are a case of “hockey overload.” We’ll get to find out when the Bruins face Philadelphia on Saturday because Peverley wasn’t able to watch hockey after the Bruins beat Toronto on Thursday or before he departed for practice Friday at Ristuccia Arena.
His cable box was out.
Unfortunately for Peverley, his offensive game, and that of his linemates Chris Kelly and Chris Bourque, has been on the fritz most of this season. Things improved a bit for Peverley and Kelly against Toronto with Jay Pandolfo replacing the waived, and since-demoted, Bourque on Boston’s third line.
“I thought we played pretty well. It’s just the way it’s going right now,” Peverley said after practice. “Chris misses a wide-open net and then I get handcuffed on a wide-open net and then we get scored on, off a skate and in. It’s just the way it’s going. You’ve just got to stay positive.”
Somehow Peverley is keeping his wits about him in the midst of so much misfortune. And it’s not just this year. Peverley has scored just three goals this season in 21 games after he found the back of the net just 11 times in 57 games last season. His goals per game over last year and this is just 0.18, while he averaged 0.23 goals per game the prior three seasons.
The 30-year-old speedster, however, sees a difference between this season and last.
“I feel like last year I had chances to score and when we didn’t score [on my shot] but we’d score on the rebound or something,” he said. “I think this year it’s been like a little bit harder in terms of hitting posts and Chris hitting posts, missing nets, stuff like that.”
Kelly finished last season with a career-high 20 goals and usual left winger Benoit Pouliot chipped in with 16. One year later, Kelly and Bourque scored just one goal apiece before the breakup of the third line. Peverley’s disappointed that Bourque was made to sort of take the fall for the trio’s struggles, and he expects Bourque to make an impact down the line.
“I do [feel partly responsible],” said Peverley, whose cap hit this season and two years beyond is $3.25 million. “I think we definitely, this is definitely, one of the worst times we’ve had, I’ve had, in my career in terms of play. And I think that I do take a little bit of responsibility for that.”
There are 27 games for Peverley and his linemates to turn things around. Unlike his cable, Peverley doesn’t need to wait around for a specialist to fix the problem. He can keep his head up and turn his speed up to another level. The hit posts and bad bounces try to demoralize him, but he’s sticking to his plan to make the most of the season’s second half.
“Well you’ve got to create your own luck, too,” he said. “You can have one chance here, but you’ve got to continue to create more chances and if you get more chances, hopefully they’ll go in.”
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes coverage to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.