Rich Peverley has been knocking lightly on the door of the NHL.
In his second stint with the Nashville Predators this season, Peverley is getting the opportunity to try to kick the door down. In his last three games he has been teamed most of the time with David Legwand and Martin Erat on the Predators’ second line.
Peverley played 20 shifts and was on the ice for 14:06 minutes, the second-longest amount of playing time of his career, in the St, Louis win.
“Both Marty and David are really good players,” Peverley said. “I’m very happy to be on the same line with players of that caliber. They are both pretty fast guys. They are both very smart with the puck.
“I’m just trying to take advantage of it. I’m trying to get the puck to them so they can make plays. I’m also trying to make some plays too.”
Saturday afternoon in the Predators’ 5-2 win at St. Louis, he was credited an assist for his first point in eight games this season and the second point of his NHL career. Predators coach Barry Trotz thinks the biggest spark for Peverley’s pro future will be his first NHL goal.
“Rich is playing at more of a higher role than he has here, so we will see how that goes,” Trotz said. “Every time he comes up here he gets closer to playing at the NHL level. His comfort level is getting better. When he scores his first goal his confidence level will be even higher.”
Peverley doesn’t want to put too much pressure on himself to score though he hit three goal posts in one game.
“I don’t want to get really frustrated if I don’t score a goal,” Peverley said. “I just want to stay positive and keep trying to get chances.”
The Predators are back at home tonight at 5 in the Sommet Center to meet the St. Louis Blues, losers in their last four games. It will be the last home game before this weekend’s All-Star break. The Predators close out the week with a trip to Colorado Tuesday and a stop in Phoenix Thursday.
By the time the Predators return from the break, forwards Jordin Tootoo (hip flexor) and Darcy Hordichuk (leg) could be back in action. The return of the two would force the Predators to make a move in terms of personnel. Despite the injuries, Peverley has been playing in place of Jed Ortmeyer, who has been a healthy scratch.
“I’m taking it day-to-day,” Peverley said. “They make the decisions. All you can do is try your best to convince them to make the decision in your favor.”
When, or if, Peverley finally finds a home on an NHL roster he can say he has paid his dues. Like Predators teammates Vernon Fiddler and Jerred Smithson, Peverley spent time in the East Coast Hockey League with stops in South Carolina and Reading.
Every game he plays in the NHL makes him a little more comfortable.
“The first time I came up I was a little bit star struck,” Peverley said. “I didn’t have a lot of confidence. But the more games you play you start to get more comfortable and you start to play your game and feel like you can do more on the ice.”
RECORDS SET: Center Scott Nichol doubled his goals total for the season with two in the win against the Blues Saturday. He is the first Predators player to score two short-handed goals in the same period with both in the second at St. Louis.
Right winger J.P. Dumont set a new team record for consecutive games with at least one point with 11. He has eight goals and eight assists during the stretch. Steve Sullivan twice recorded points in 10 consecutive games.