BOSTON -- It’s well-known that Michael Ryder is a streaky player. Thankfully for the Bruins, it appears he might be embarking on a good streak right now.
While the Bruins suffered their first loss in three games Saturday, falling 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden, Ryder scored his second goal in as many games and is getting numerous chances thanks to his hustle and chemistry with linemates Marc Savard and Nathan Horton.
“He has such a good shot,” Horton said of his Ryder, who scored at 11:41 of the second period to tie the score at 2. “Playing with Savard, too, you get the puck. He’s made some great plays, Savvy has, and with Ryder having such a pretty shot, it was nice for him to get one.”
Ryder could’ve easily had another goal with the chances he got Saturday but Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury had luck on his side.
“He could’ve had a hat trick there tonight,” Savard said with a laugh. “I mean, I had my hands raised when I sent him in on that breakaway and it gets through [Fleury’s] pads and hits the post. I mean, what next?”
Ryder, ironically, has found his scoring touch on the off-wing and Bruins coach Claude Julien has liked what he’s seen.
“I don’t mind [Ryder on the off-wing], and that’s something that we’ve talked about before and we’ve used him there a few times because he seems to shoot the puck well from his off-wing,” Julien said. “And I guess right now with those two guys, for me, I‘ve seen a pretty good line and he seems to have adapted well. And the biggest struggle is obviously against the boards, and there’s times in our own end against the boards he fights it a little bit, but the rest of it seems to be pretty good. He seems to be comfortable there and I think he’s played well on that left side.”
Ryder admitted he’s still a bit uncomfortable on the left wing but doesn’t mind helping the team any way he can.
“I’m getting more and more [comfortable] but I still have a tendency to go to the right side” Ryder said. “But I just remind myself, 'You fill in for everybody' and I’m getting more and more comfortable with it.”
Ryder’s main goal now is to spread his recent scoring magic to his linemates, who can’t seem to buy a goal.
“We’ve been talking a lot lately and telling each other we’re getting chances and don’t get frustrated because that’s the worst thing we can do,” Ryder said of himself, Savard and Horton. “It’s hard not to do, but we talked and just kept pushing each other. It’s gotta go in sometime, and [Friday] night [we were] starting to get some.
"We’ve been together for a few games now and [it] just seemed like nothing would go in, but we were patient and it’s getting better. I think the key now is to just take positives and build off them and hopefully it snowballs from there.”