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Welcome back, Michael Ryder. The Bruins might be able to use you in the playoffs

04.02.11 at 8:37 pm ET
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By his own admission, the last three weeks haven’t exactly been a joyride for Michael Ryder.

He is a player talented enough to serve the same capacity as Miroslav Satan did in last year’s playoffs. He is a veteran sniper who has playoff experience finishing his chances.

But, in the second half of this season, it’s been a different story. His penalty shot score to win Saturday’s game against Atlanta and clinch the Northeast title for the Bruins was his 18th goal but first since Feb. 27, a span of 12 games.

“Yeah, I’€™ve struggled to find goals lately,” Ryder said. “Last game goal post, then [Saturday] crossbar. Just got to try and stay with it. If I keep just working hard and shooting the puck, it’€™ll go in for me.”

In that stretch, he has been benched twice by coach Claude Julien, once last Saturday against the Rangers and once on March 10 against the Islanders.

“You want to be in the lineup, nobody wants to be out,” Ryder said. “It’€™s frustrating and I’€™ve been there before, so I kind of know what it takes to get back in. It’€™s just working hard and finding your game, and not letting the little things get to you. Just make sure when you get back in that you take advantage of the chances that you get.”

Sometimes you get a break and Ryder made his own break with just under eight minutes left when he forced a neutral zone turnover by the Thrashers and broke in alone. He was hooked from behind by Johnny Oduya and was awarded a penalty shot.

I was just trying to skate and get away from the guy behind me. I don’€™t really know what happened. Just fell down and they called a penalty shot. I was just trying to catch my breath, that’€™s it.

Thursday night, during the shootout, Ryder went up top and missed the net during Boston’s loss. This time, he made sure to get it on net. And when he went up top on Ondrej Pavelec, above his right shoulder, the crowd exploded. Ryder had finally snapped his goalless streak at 12 games.

“I was just excited to get the goal,” Ryder said. “I was tired on the penalty shot, so I didn’€™t know what I was going to do. Like I said, that was a big win for us. I knew if we got the lead and I scored there, it would get the team going and hopefully we could pull out the win. Last game I missed the net, [Saturday] I hit it. It was a big goal for us, we wanted to make sure we got the win, and I think we’€™ve played better games but as long as we get the two points that doesn’€™t mean anything.”

By benching him twice and putting him on the third and fourth lines, Julien wanted to give him time to think about what it will take to rediscover that touch in time for a Stanley Cup run in two weeks.

“I think it’€™s just a matter of it was nice to see him score that goal,” Julien said. “Obviously it turned out to be a big goal for us, but these are steps in the right direction. I think, you know, when he starts feeling confident about doing those things and doing them without over-thinking, he’€™s going to be a good player again.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Michael Ryder

Bruins Ryde penalty shot goal to division title

04.02.11 at 3:27 pm ET
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Michael Ryder ended his scoring slump and gave the Bruins a 3-2 win over the Thrashers that clinched the Northeast Division Saturday at TD Garden.

Ryder, who entered the contest having gone 12 games without a goal, beat Ondrej Pavelec on a penalty shot at 12:31 of the third period to break a 2-2 tie. It was Ryder’s second game back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for two consecutive games due to lack of production. Ryder’s penalty shot goal was the Bruins’ first since Marco Sturm did it back in 2007, and it was their first at home since Ray Bourque in 1994.

The Bruins also received goals from Mark Recchi and Daniel Paille, the latter of whom’s tally served as the B’s second shorthanded goal in as many games.

Tuukka Rask, who allowed a shaky power-play goal in the first period and was caught out of position on the second goal, improved his record to 11-13-2 with the win.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

Brad Marchand, who received the 7th Player award prior to the game, continued his recent hot streak with a first-period assist on Recchi’s goal. The helper gave him five points (2 G, 3 A) over his last four games. Marchand’s linemate, Patrice Bergeron, has assists in his last three games.

– Good to see Paille making the most of his time in the lineup while the opportunity is there. He did all the work for his shorthanded tally, knocking down a puck from Zach Bogosian and circling back to beat Pavelec.

– A stick-tap to Michael Berger from Mut & Merloni, who drove the WEEI.com stat truck Saturday, pointing out that Paille’s shorthanded goal was the 11th of the season for the Bruins, which put them in a tie with the Rangers for fourth in the NHL. The Islanders have a league-best 14, while the Flyers and Penguins each have 12.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– Dustin Byfuglien continues to be a problem for the Bruins. In scoring his first-period tally to tie the game at one, the Thrashers defenseman picked up his third goal against the Bruins this season in four games.

– If Nathan Horton’s performance on Saturday took place in mid-to-late December, fans would throw fits. He’ll get a break for his zero-shot game Saturday due to the fact that he had five points over his previous five games.

Shawn Thornton was held out of the lineup once again due to the stitches he received Tuesday night. The game was a rather sleepy affair on both sides, and a guy like Thornton is the type you want in your lineup to ramp up the energy.

Read More: Michael Ryder,

Bruins and Thrashers tied at two after two

04.02.11 at 2:35 pm ET
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The Bruins and Thrashers each added another goal in the second period and are tied, 2-2, at the second intermission.

The Thrashers grabbed their first lead of the game when Evander Kane fired a loose puck past Tuukka Rask as the B’s netminder was trying to get back in position at 1:37. Daniel Paille tied the game about five minutes later, causing a turnover in the Thrashers’ zone while on the penalty kill and firing a wrister past Ondrej Pavelec for the Bruins’ 11th shorthanded goal of the season.

After two periods, the B’s hold a 17-15 advantage in shots on goal.

Read More: Daniel Paille, Tuukka Rask,

Bruins tied with Thrashers after one

04.02.11 at 1:43 pm ET
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The name of the game was easy goals in the first period Saturday, and thanks to a softy allowed by each team, the Bruins and Thrashers are tied at one.

Mark Recchi scored his 14th of the season when a shot from Patrice Bergeron trickled through the legs of Ondrej Pavelec and needed just a tap-in to make it 1-0. The Thrashers tied it up when Tuukka Rask took a delay of game penalty and let a Dustin Byfuglen shot bounce off him and in. The Thrashers are 1-for-2 on the power play, while the B’s are 0-for-1.

The Bruins are outshooting the Thrashers, 6-4.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Mark Recchi, Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask

Brad Marchand picks up first significant award – Bruins 7th Player Award

04.02.11 at 1:22 pm ET
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After scoring 21 goals and adding 19 assists in 72 games, Bruins winger Brad Marchand was honored as the 2010-11 Bruins “Seventh Player Award” given to the Bruins player who goes above and beyond the call of duty and exceeded expectations, as voted on by Bruins fans.

Technically still a rookie, Marchand has earned the trust of his coaching staff by playing the left wing on the team’s second line, playing with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi.

Marchand celebrated the honor by picking up his 20th assist on Boston’s first goal Saturday, a score by Mark Recchi.

Marchand is expected to receive consideration for the NHL’s Calder Trophy, awarded to the league’s top rookie. The favorites are considered Carolina’s Jeff Skinner and San Jose’s Logan Couture.

Read More: 7th Player Award, Atlanta Thrashers, Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand

Shane Hnidy makes his second-time-around debut with B’s, Steve Kampfer back to bench

04.02.11 at 12:12 pm ET
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After missing most of the season with a shoulder injury, defenseman Shane Hnidy has been cleared by coach Claude Julien to return to action today against the Thrashers in a matinee at TD Garden.

Hnidy suffered the injury during camp with the Coyotes in September and spent the first half of the season rehabbing it before signing as a free agent with the Bruins at the end of February.

This is Hnidy’s third stint with Bruins, racking up three goals and nine assists in 65 games two seasons ago. The 35-year-old Hnidy had a goal and four assists in 43 games in the 2007-08 season. To make room for Hnidy, Julien scratched rookie blueliner Steve Kampfer for the seventh time in eight games.

The well-traveled Hnidy broke in with Ottawa in the 2000-01 season and played his first three seasons with the Senators before being traded to Nashville in the middle of the 2003-04 season. Following the lockout, he came back and played two seasons with Atlanta before being signed by Anaheim in July 2007. He was traded to Boston in the middle of the 07-08 season, his first go-around with the Bruins.

Hnidy’s best season came in 2006-07 with the Thrashers, when he had five goals and seven assists in 72 games with a plus-minus of +15.

Hnidy played for Minnesota last season before getting a tryout with the Coyotes last September.

Read More: Atlanta Thrashers, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Minnesota Wild

Claude Julien says Zdeno Chara will play against Thrashers

04.01.11 at 1:50 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien said Thursday that there was “nothing to report” after Zdeno Chara was absent from the game 17:14 of the second period to 3:05 of the third period against the Maple Leafs, but eyebrows were once again raised when the captain did not take the ice in Friday’s practice at TD Garden.

After the skate, Julien reassured reporters that there isn’t any reason for concern with the captain, and that he will be in the lineup when the B’s host the Thrashers at TD Garden Saturday.

“There’s nothing,” Julien said. “He had the day off today, and he’ll be in tomorrow.

Chara has not missed a game this season. He, along with Mark Recchi and Dennis Seidenberg, is one of three players who have played in each contest.

Read More: Zdeno Chara,
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