WILMINGTON, Mass. -- With the type of luck Michael Ryder was having in the Bruins' handful of games before Wednesday night, it would've been understandable if he resorted to magic potions or rabbit's feet to try to break out of his slump.
But the veteran winger said Saturday after the team's practice at Ristuccia Arena that superstition just doesn't factor into his preparation, even when he has scored just one goal in nine games.
"I'm not too superstitious. Maybe my sticks, I try to do little things with them. But nothing major," explained Ryder, who buried a 5-on-3 goal against Atlanta to snap a four-game goal-less stretch.
There have been nights when Ryder, who has totaled a disappointing nine goals in 36 games this season, has been somewhat invisible. But then there are nights like last Monday in Ottawa, where every couple seconds it seemed he had a scoring chance and a bad bounce or a puck on edge thwarted him. It didn't help that in that game, he also got hit in the hand with a shot by a teammate and was high-sticked twice.
"I felt like I was getting frustrated after a while, but you can't really get to you because then it will affect the rest of your game," he said. "You just got to think about working hard and just following the system and trying to play your game. And when you see a puck there sometimes and it's bouncing, you want to run up and just whack it instead of taking that split second and maybe just taking your time. Those things can happen."
Obviously Bruins head coach Claude Julien was getting a little frustrated with Ryder. That's why after he skated the right winger alongside No. 1 center Marc Savard for two games, the coach moved the veteran back to a line centered by David Krejci Monday and left him there Wednesday. And Julien cut back on Ryder's power play time.
With Boston enjoying a 5-on-3 man advantage against the Thrashers, however, Julien turned to Ryder to provide a net-front presence and it worked out when Ryder popped in a rebound -- a fortuitous bounce that gave Ryder hope for a brighter future.
"If I wasn't getting chances I think I'd be a little more worried about things. The last game, that's probably how things were, I just got the bounce after the save. So hopefully that was a Christmas gift that keeps giving," he said.