Michael Ryder proves Claude Julien right, plays hero in pivotal win over Canadiens
|04.22.11 at 12:09 am ET|
MONTREAL — To say that Michael Ryder has been the whipping boy of Bruins fans is an understatement. The $4 million man was far from that for too long after the Bruins’ Feb. 9 win over the Canadiens. The free-agent-to-be totaled just two goals over his final 25 games, and was even a healthy scratch three times.
Since the playoffs began, fans and some media members have lobbied for Ryder to watch them from the press box in order to make room for Tyler Seguin in the lineup.
On Thursday, Ryder showed that Claude Julien‘s decision to stick with him was the right one, ending his lengthy disappearing act with a pair of goals in Game 5 against the Canadiens, including the game-winner in overtime. Julien has coached Ryder everywhere from juniors to the AHL to Montreal to Boston, so it was only fitting that Ryder prove Julien right at Bell Centre.
‘I’ve been with him for a while,’ Ryder said of Julien. ‘Just for him to give me the ice time and give me the confidence, for me, it just gives me that extra boost to show people that I can still play and still got it.’
Ryder’s big night began when he tied the game at one in the second period, beating Habs netminder Carey Price with a wrist shot after taking a pass from Tomas Kaberle. From there, the weight was finally off the struggling winger’s shoulders.
‘You always get a little frustrated when you don’t score and you don’t get that many opportunities, but it was definitely a confidence boost,’ Ryder said. ‘Hopefully now our line keeps generating stuff, helping to do whatever we can to help this team.’
He would go on to assist Chris Kelly‘s game-tying goal at 13:42 of the third period, which marked the third time in the game that the B’s came back to tie it up. They actually never led in the game until Ryder beat Price for the game-winner just 119 seconds into overtime.
‘I’m happy for Rydes,’ Shawn Thornton said of the winger. ‘A couple of guys talked about it before, he usually plays pretty well in this building,’ Shawn Thornton said of the former Canadien. ‘I’m happy his hard work paid off. Maybe some people in Boston will lay off him now. He’s a good guy.’