Seidenberg worked around the clock
Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was all smiles at TD Garden yesterday, which was understandable given how Game 5 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Canadiens turned out.
Seidenberg looked none the worse for wear despite playing yeoman minutes (a team-high 38 minutes, 15 seconds) in the 2-1 double-overtime victory Saturday night that put Boston ahead, 3-2, in the best-of-seven series.
“I think we’re all pretty happy,’’ said Seidenberg. “I think most of us are pretty tired. It’s good to have a day like that to recover and relax outside [of the rink] a little bit maybe.’’
Seidenberg, who has been extremely effective paired with captain Zdeno Chara, said the extent of his workload kicked in in the latter stages of the endurance-testing contest.
“The more the game went on, the more tired I started feeling, but actually I felt surprisingly good. So it wasn’t too bad,’’ he said. “It shows I did something right throughout the summer, I guess. It’s a good feeling to feel pretty good in such a long game.’’
Coach Claude Julien has been impressed with the job Seidenberg has done.
“We think he’s a real good defenseman and with ‘Z,’ that’s a real great pair,’’ said Julien. “We’re very comfortable with the other pairs as well. Putting him with Zdeno, his play has certainly dictated that. But I think his reputation, what I’ve known from him even before he came to our team, was he always seemed to play well in big games and the bigger the game, the better he plays. So we’re really counting on that from him and he’s certainly shown that.’’
One of the only mistakes Seidenberg committed was about eight minutes into the opening period when his pass attempt to Chara was intercepted and it resulted in a great scoring chance by Tomas Plekanec. With goalie Tim Thomas down and out, teammate Michael Ryder stepped into the crease and Plekanec’s shot nicked off Ryder’s glove and out of harm’s way.
“I kind of telegraphed it,’’ said Seidenberg. “I looked at him for a while before I gave it to him. They probably knew we were going D to D and that’s why they picked it off. It was lucky for us.’’
Riding high Ryder was an impact player in Games 4 and 5, with the overtime winner in Game 4 and the memorable save in Game 5. Julien has coached Ryder on two teams — Boston and Montreal — and was asked about his ability to bring out the best in Ryder.
“Well, obviously, I don’t all the time, I wish I could,’’ said Julien. “Michael is one of those guys that when he’s on his game, as you can see, he’s a very good player. [Saturday], he showed another side of him. I think he’s really feeling good about his game right now. He’s certainly been a pretty good player for us in the last few games.
“He’s just one of those guys who, believe it or not, can be a difference-maker. I’ve seen it in the past. He had that first year where he scored the types of goals we thought he would or the amount he would. He’s had challenges the last couple of years, but this is a situation where you remember players for how they finish, not how they start.
“Mike’s having a pretty good playoffs so far and hopefully he continues to do that.’’
Powerless to help Despite the power play being dreadful (0 for 15 in the series), the Bruins are still one win away from advancing. Julien has tried different combinations, to no avail. “It’s been an ongoing battle all year, I’m not going to stand here and lie and pretend it’s not an issue. It is an issue,’’ said the coach. “And I think the players know it’s an issue. At one point, it becomes probably a situation where there’s either a lack of confidence or there’s probably a lot of stress when they go out on the power play and they know what it represents and where the challenges have been. Somehow we’ve got to find a way to overcome that.’’ . . . Defenseman Steve Kampfer, who suffered a knee injury playing in Providence the final weekend of the regular season, is still on the shelf. “He’s not back to skating,’’ said Julien. “I think he’s still getting treatments. We hope he’s going to be back skating within a week to 10 days.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.