Rich Peverley has to play better/By S. Bradley

Rich Peverley has to play better/By S. Bradley

BOSTON — Just after the Bruins’ morning skate ended with Chris Bourque staying on the ice along with perennial healthy scratches Lane MacDermid and Aaron Johnson, TSN reporter Bob McKenzie broke the news that the Bruins had placed Bourque on waivers.

That made it even more likely that Jay Pandolfo, who did not stay on the ice for extra work after a hard-working AM skate by the Bruins, would open tonight’s game against Toronto on the third line with Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly at TD Garden.

After the skate, coach Claude Julien declared confidence in his bottom six forwards and in Kelly and Peverley’s ability to turn things around. So far this season, Kelly and Peverley are a combined minus-15.

“It’s pretty obvious, I think that it’s been a bit of a challenge for us,” Julien said. “I think our fourth line played their best game, probably in a year and a half, last game in Washington. They were a real big factor. I thought they had some great scoring chances, a lot of O-zone time and everything else. If they can continue to play like that, then we’ve just got to kind of hope that our third line can turn a corner here.

“There’s two guys in Peverley and Kelly that were great assets and big plus players last year that are struggling right now to get that part of their game going. The one thing you don’t do is lose confidence in them. They’ve just got to work their way through it. That’s part of their job and it’s part of our job. We know what they’re capable of doing and everybody in that room knows they’re capable of getting better presence from them than we’ve had so far.”