BOSTON — Raise your hand if you had Wade Redden scoring the first goal for the Boston Bruins during the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. OK, now put your hands down, because you’re all liars.
Inexplicably, though, it was Redden who lit the lamp first for the B’s on Wednesday night in Boston’s 4-1 win over Toronto in Game 1 of their first-round series. Redden tied the game with a slap shot from the left wing that James Reimer tried to glove but couldn’t, allowing Boston to get on the board. Just 3:28 later, Redden earned himself an assist when he put a shot on net during a Boston power play that was tipped home by Nathan Horton. It was all Bruins from there.
It was quite the night for Redden, whose struggles as a pro are well known. The No. 2 overall pick in the 1995 NHL draft, Redden has never really lived up to the lofty expectations that come with being such a high pick. Things hit rock bottom for Redden last season when he found himself in the AHL with the Connecticut Whale.
So it was something else for Redden to be out on the ice in Game 1 of the playoffs, his first postseason appearance since 2009. That alone was a victory for Redden.
“It was fun to be back out there, that’s for sure,” he said. “I’ve said before, I’m trying to get the most out of it. I’ve been away for awhile, and it’s good to get back there.”
It was Redden’s ninth career multipoint playoff game of his career (his first since 2006), and the goal also marked the first he’s scored in the postseason since 2007. The decision to play Redden — over rookie D-man Dougie Hamilton — turned out to be the right one from head coach Claude Julien.
“I was really happy for him,” Julien said. “I think I said that [Wednesday morning], he’s a player that has gone through some rough times. What we’ve tried to do when he came here is make him feel welcome, make him feel appreciated, and give him some confidence that way. So far, it’s paid dividends.”
Redden’s journey has seen its ups and downs, and for one night at least, he was in the unexpected position to be one of the heroes for a team contending for a Cup.
“It’s been a long road,” Redden said. “Obviously in the position I was in, there was a lot of uncertainty. I kept working and kept believing I guess. It’s great to be here now and have the chance and make the most of it.”
Thumbnail photo via Instagram/@NHLBruins