BOSTON -- Remember the Michael Ryder whose inconsistency drove you nuts, had your head spinning, and for the last two seasons had you table-topping trade scenarios at the deadline?
Don’t look now, but with his redirect of Tomas Kaberle tonight that gave the Bruins the largest lead of the night, he now has eight goals in the playoffs, tied for third most on the team with Nathan Horton.
When asked after tonight’s 5-2 win whether the Bruins have perhaps some deceiving speed, Rich Peverley was blunt in his retort: “Just because we’re known as a physical, big-body team doesn’t mean that we don’t have speed also.”
At the forefront of that perceived deceit is Ryder, whose wheels haven’t been in question so much as his finishing ability, or bad scoreless slumps. With a hefty contract -- he’s in the final year of a three-year, $12 million deal -- he has failed to live up to the price tag at some points during his tenure here.
But just as he did in his final year with Montreal in 2008, Ryder couldn’t have been peaking at a better time, set to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
First, he set up Andrew Ference at the blue line with a soft saucer pass ready to blast at the blue line, for a 3-0 lead. Sixty-five seconds later, he parked himself in front of Cory Schneider and got his stick on a redirect for a 4-0 lead.
“You know, it was 3-0 and we didn’t wanna quit, we wanted to keep going,” Ryder said. “That was a big boost for us to make sure we did the little things right.”
Asked if there is any particular craft to tipping pucks in front, Ryder could only shrug and laught.
“I don’t know, I just try to get a stick on it, you know, and it just manages to find its way into the net,” he said. “I don’t know if there’s any art to it, but you just try and get a stick in there and change the direction of it.”