Ryder gives it his best shot against old team
MONTREAL — He’s maligned here, because he left to take the big free agent money the Bruins threw his way three years ago.
And he’s maligned back in Boston, because he’s had prolonged spells of invisibility.
But Michael Ryder was anything but invisible in the Bruins’ logic-defying 5-4 overtime win in last night’s Game 4 against the Canadiens.
Ryder struck for two goals against his former club, including the tally at 1:59 of the extra session that sent the series back to Boston all square.
“It was definitely a big goal for us,’’ said the soft-spoken Newfoundlander, effecting his usual “aw-shucks’’ manner. “We didn’t want to be down in the series, 3-1. It would have been a tough one if that had happened. It’s pretty exciting.’’
The Bruins have a chance to take the upper hand tomorrow night at TD Garden, and Ryder, who has been both booed and benched in Boston, will have a chance to bask in a little love.
At least until the first shift.
“What he did for us tonight is what we’ve been wanting him to do, and expect him at times to do,’’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “He’s got a great shot and needs to use it.
“You need guys to step up at this time of the year, and tonight it was Michael. Hopefully, it’s good for his confidence. Especially having been a healthy scratch near the end of the year. Hopefully, he can build on that and keep being the player he was tonight.’’
Ryder was brimming with confidence and speed when, at 2:13 of the second period, he jetted down right wing after a Tomas Kaberle pass and rattled Carey Price’s water bottle with a lasered roofer.
That tied the score at 1-1, and came after Bruins had been badly outplayed in the opening period.
“It was a great pass by Kabby,’’ said Ryder. “I wanted to get in and get a quick shot off. I think I caught him a little off-guard or something. I’m just happy it went in.’’
The respite didn’t last long — Mike Cammalleri restored Montreal’s lead less than five minutes later — but Ryder’s goal gave the Bruins a little of their swagger back.
It also knocked a load off Ryder’s shoulders.
“Yeah, a little bit,’’ he said. “You always get a little frustrated when you don’t score, or you don’t get that many opportunities. It was definitely a confidence boost. Hopefully, our line keeps generating opportunities. To do anything we can to help our team win.’’
The line of Ryder, Chris “Cageman’’ Kelly, and Rich Peverley did more than its share.
Kelly, facial bruises and all (courtesy of Montreal’s Scott Gomez in Game 3), sent the game into overtime with his goal at 13:42 of the third.
“That line was huge for us all night,’’ said Patrice Bergeron, who chipped in a goal and an assist, but also drew a hooking penalty at 32 seconds of the third period that led to the Canadiens’ last go-ahead goal. “That tying goal by Kells was huge. But that overtime goal was a great play by the three of them.’’
Ryder had the left post all to himself when Kelly spotted him from deep in the right corner. The pass made it through to Ryder, who promptly buried it.
“Kells just threw it out there,’’ Ryder said. “I guess he saw me. I think Price was caught trying to get back to his post, and I just threw it in.
“I’m just happy that we won the game. It’s good to go home tied, 2-2.’’
No doubt, the reception will be a warm one.