WILMINGTON, Mass. -- There could be some lineup changes for the Bruins when they host the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.
After scoring the winning goal on a penalty shot Saturday in a 3-2 win over Atlanta, then assisting on a Daniel Paille tally in the 5-3 loss to the Rangers on Monday, Michael Ryder appears to be back in the good graces of coach Claude Julien. Ryder was skating on the third line with Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin during Tuesday's practice.
Shawn Thornton was back on his normal line with Gregory Campbell and Paille without the shield he has been wearing to protect a 40-stitch gash on his forehead suffered March 29 when he was cut by the skate of Blackhawks forward Fernando Pisani. Neither Thornton nor Julien would confirm that Thornton will return Wednesday but if he does, Seguin, without a point in his last nine games, could be the odd man out.
"I've had no pain and I'm ready to go if they need me," Thornton said. "I just need their clearance."
"We'll figure it out tomorrow," Julien said. "He's day-to-day and that hasn't changed."
Julien said he has seen improvement in Ryder's game and again stressed the urgency of having the winger on top of his game for the playoffs. Ryder has nine goals and 19 points in 24 postseason games with Boston.
"He is getting better," Julien said. "He's got to continue to work hard. Hopefully he'll be a good playoff performer for us because he has been in the past. If we're going to have some success, then we're going to need Michael Ryder to be good for us."
Ryder said he feels his confidence is returning and that getting back to basics, along with his first goal since Feb. 27, may have gotten the monkey off his back.
"When things aren't going well, you probably lose your confidence and don't realize it," Ryder said. "It just takes one little thing to get it back and it clicks again. I think for me the last few games I'm getting there with the penalty shot and just doing the little things again that make me successful."
Ryder likes the speed a line with him, Peverley and Kelly can bring.
"I think when I am using my speed that benefits my game," Ryder said. "Playing with those guys, if all of us are skating, it could be a good thing for all of us because we can use the speed to our advantage against teams getting pucks in deep and get on the forecheck hard."
As for Seguin, he knows he can be better and is hoping he gets the chance in the final three games of the regular season.
"I thought I was improving a lot and getting better every game, but the last two games I haven't been my best," Seguin acknowledged. "But I still have three more games until the season is over. I think it's pretty easy to get motivated and I think all of us want to be part of this."