As a first-year Bruin in 2008-09, he was a dangerous option on the flank and capitalized on set-up attempts from playmakers Marc Savard and David Krejci. To boot, the former Canadien was a big hit in Boston as he had Habs fans kicking themselves all season and helped eliminate the Red Sweaters with a sweep in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
At first, though, the addition of Ryder seemed to be nothing more than Claude Julien giving a former player, who appeared to have lost his scoring touch, a second chance. But Julien had faith in the winger, and Ryder answered as the team's second-highest goal scorer, potting 27 goals and 26 helpers.
This year, the Newfie has just 10 points through 26 games. He even went scoreless through 10 straight games from mid-October to mid-November and has posted just one multiple point contest in the last 25 games.
However, seven of Ryder's points have come in the form of goals, something the Bruins are visibly struggling to get on a consistent basis. Seven goals sure doesn't sound like a lot, and when compared to the league's top scorers, it's somewhat laughable. But Ryder's game-tying goal and shootout winner against the Senators could be a sign of things to come for the second-year Bruin.
Through the first two months of the 2008-09 campaign, Ryder was equally slow and sniped just five goals. But Ryder obviously found his niche as he finished with 27, three off from his career high of 30, which he accomplished twice in Montreal. This year, he has notched seven tallies despite an abundance of offensive injuries and constant shuffling of lines.
Once he gets settled in and the B's hit their stride, Ryder is destined to bury some rubber.
The 29-year-old's game-tying goal came during a second-period power play which featured a flowing unit of Savard, Marco Sturm and Ryder, and the three obviously had things working during that man advantage.
"The defense went down, so I was going to try and go around them, and Sturm was in front, but I just kind of got too excited, and then I gave it back to Zee," Ryder said. "And he gave it back to me, and I said, 'This time, I’m going to shoot it,' and Sturmy had a good screen in front."
Ryder has taken 60 shots this season, including four in the win over Ottawa. For the Bruins' offense to improve, Ryder needs to play a little more selfish in the offensive zone, and such selfishness builds with confidence.
"I kind of knew that I had an opening, and with the power play, we knew that we wanted to get more shots on net and not try and get too fancy, and we did that," Ryder said Saturday. "We moved the puck well. When we had that first shot, we took it, and I think that was one thing we were not doing before. We were not taking that first shot. We were trying to make another play. [This game,] we took what they gave us, and it worked."
Some of that confidence may have been instilled Saturday when Julien plucked Ryder off the bench to be the B's fourth shootout option. The Bruins have had their fair share of shootouts this season, with Patrice Bergeron and Blake Wheeler leading the entire league with nine attempts each, but Ryder had just two attempts heading into the weekend.
It may not have surprised many to see Ryder stick to his guns and rip off a shot rather than attempt a deke. Although his roof job on Pascal Leclaire looked effortless, that doesn't mean he had it planned the whole time.
"I wasn’t sure what I was going to do," he admitted. "I was just going in on him. I was just seeing what he was giving me, and I didn’t give him much for a deke, so I just wanted to try and get a high shot on him, and I beat him glove side."
Julien hopes to see more of the same as the team enters a December in which they face division foes five times.
"It is one of those things where you look at your roster and you go with what you have," Julien said. "Some of it is about dekeing, and some of it is about shooting. He was having a pretty good night, and he was on."
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