Ryder Delivers As Bruins Sweep Canadiens
So many times we'd seen this before. It was like an old script.
Tony Pena. Adam Oates. Adam Vinatieri . Joe Juneau. Tom Brunansky. Bob Sweeney.
Players who used to don a Boston uniform and then resurfacing later as ex-Bostonians to defeat their former teams in the playoffs or crucial games down the stretch.
It never failed.
Or, you had players like Tom Barrasso and Kevin Stevens—who were from the Boston area—torching the hometown team in a big way.
On Wednesday night, however, the exact opposite happened. Something I don't think I've ever seen before. And if I have, it's been a while.
An ex-Habs player now playing for Boston haunting his old team.
Think about that for a moment. A former Montreal Canadien helping the Boston Bruins? Has it even happened before?
And it actually happened twice, no less.
Michael Ryder had given the Bruins a commanding 3-0 series lead by potting the game-winner late in the second period on Monday, stunning the Bell Centre crowd.
What did he do for an encore?
Incredibly, Ryder, who spent four seasons with les Habitants before joining the B's in the offseason, did it again.
Ryder scored two goals and added an assist to lead Boston to a 4-1 triumph, as the Bruins finished off the Habs in a four-game sweep on Wednesday.
Montreal actually took the lead 39 seconds into the game and had many scoring opportunities in the first period—the Canadiens outshot the Bruins 16-7—to add to the lead. Ryder, however, beat goaltender Carey Price with a one-timer—thanks to a horrible giveaway by Montreal defenseman Roman Hamrlik in the slot—with two and a half minutes left in the period.
But the former Hab wasn't done.
With time winding down in the first, Ryder worked a give-and-go with David Krejci, with the latter beating Price with only 34 seconds remaining. Credit Ryder for drawing Price out of the net to allow Krejci to score into the open cage. No chance for the Canadiens goalie, and a great goal for the Bruins.
After Boston took a 3-1 lead on Phil Kessel's fourth goal of the series midway through the second period, Ryder was at it again.
Ryder took Krejci's perfect cross-ice pass and re-directed it past Carey, giving the Bruins a commanding three-goal lead at 12:43. It was his fourth goal of the series, and the outcome was never in doubt the rest of the way.
When was the last time you saw an ex-Montreal player sticking it to the Habs while playing for the B's?
Prior to the series, I was expecting the Canadiens to become the '71 Habs or even the '02 or '04 Canadiens, to find a way to upset the Bruins. After all, it was Montreal's 100th NHL season, and despite the regular-season dominance by the Bruins, I had some doubts.
Could this be a magical season for the Habs, in their 100th season, facing a team they've had so much success in the playoffs?
Not this time.
Michael Ryder made sure of it.
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