Even a move down to the Bruins’ fourth-line tonight couldn’t slow down Michael Ryder.
“We did a lot of good things out there,” said Ryder said of his new linemates, Gregory Campbell and Brad Marchand, after tonight’s 3-0 blanking of the New Jersey Devils at the TD Garden. “Even though they play hard they can still make plays.
“I think those guys get in on the forecheck well, and get the puck in there. It makes us work a little harder in the offensive zone.”
Ryder accounted for three of the Bruins’ 24 shots on goals tonight, and netted his fifth goal — and third on the power play — of the season. He took a Patrice Bergeron pass to the right of Brodeur, and caught the future Hall of Famer cheating off the near post.
“I was looking to pass pretty much the whole time,” he said. “I looked over and saw Brodeur cheating a little bit so I threw it short side on him and I caught him moving to the left.”
Despite being moved down to the fourth-line, the red-hot Ryder remains hot, having posted 3-3-6 in five of his last seven contests. No 73 logged 2:47 of ice time on the power play and 12:49 of total ice time tonight.
Ryder was robbed midway through the third period on a near breakaway on Brodeur, as the Devils’ netminder picked-off his attempt for a multi-point game.
“I think I gave it away where I was going to shoot,” Ryder said of his top-shelf, glove-side attempt. “I was coming in and I think he was giving it to me and I kinda fell for it and he put his glove right there. he’s a goalie that gives you those spots and then takes them away.”
A Mattias Tedenby double-minor for high-sticking early on in the second period caught Ryder on the right cheek, causing a gaping wound that took roughly 10 stitches to repair. Ryder missed a few shifts getting repaired and was right back on the ice.
“I didn’t even see it coming,” he said. “I think it was the heel of the stick that got me.”
Ryder has proven all season long that he belongs and deserves his roster spot on this club. The 30-year-old has clearly put the 2009-10 disappointment behind him and is putting up numbers in every situation that he’s been put in. Although he is tied for the bottom of the barrel in Boston in the plus-minus category, the impending free-agent is tied for third with 11 points.
So second-line, third-line or fourth-line, Ryder is producing, and there’s no signs of slowing down — only improvements.
“A little adjustment, but I think we’ve done well together,” he said. “We can only do a little better from here with a little more chemistry.”