On Saturday, fans around the globe were marveling at the Ryder's netminding skills when he challenged B's goaltender Tim Thomas
for the "save of the game" when the forward made a glove stop with his outstretched right hand to keep the Montreal Canadiens off the board about eight minutes into the first period.
"I don’t know," said Ryder when asked how he ended up in a classic goaltender pose in the Bruins crease.
"It was something like a two-on-one, three-on-one, and our 'D' went over and they just made a pass in front and I knew Timmy was out of position and I tried blocking any way I can, and ended up getting the glove on it," said a smiling Ryder postgame.
The guy who shot the puck, Montreal's Tomas Plekanec, probably wasn't smiling.
"At first I didn’t see [the puck] through Thomas and then [Michael Cammalleri] made a great play around him and then it ended up on my tape and I just tired to get it away, just shot it quick and I fanned on it a little bit," Plekanec said. "It wasn’t a hard shot, a really hard shot, so I mean, there’s no excuse for it.
"It’s got to end up in the net for sure."
It didn't go in, but there might be at least a little bit of an excuse for Plekanec.
You see, Ryder, Plekanec's former teammate in Montreal, said he has played plenty of games between the pipes.
"In ball hockey, not ice hockey," said Ryder, sheepishly. "Well, [ice hockey] when I was a kid I did, but my dad made me stop and said I had to play out."
On Thursday, Bruins fans around North America were thanking the elder Mr. Ryder for pushing Ryder "to play out" when the right wing beat Carey Price in overtime to give the B's the 5-4 win in the Bell Centre.
But on Saturday, Ryder's teammates were thankful for his quick glove hand.
"That was awesome," said Thomas, who swiped the "save of the game" title when he stopped Brian Gionta on a breakaway during the second OT.
"I was actually turned around, I got to watch it pretty good," added Thomas. "That was a huge save and in this type of game that’s a game-breaker."Dennis Seidenberg
, a renowned shot-blocker himself ,said Saturday "that the stop on the line was a great street hockey move."
Ryder's fellow right wing, Nathan Horton
, who gave the B's the 2-1 OT win last night, also talked about the play and said it was an example of what the Bruins forwards are trying to bring to the table on both sides of the puck.
"Yeah, everyone’s committed to play defense. That’s how you win games in the playoffs," he said. "Michael Ryder back there, he’s a forward and he’s back there in the crease, stopping pucks.
"That’s what it takes to win, and that’s what we’ve got to do if we want to keep on winning."
Perhaps Ryder's biggest supporter, his head coach, talked about Ryder's recent performance in the light of his startling save.
"Well you say you don’t practice it much, but according to him he did because he played goal for his ball hockey club. So he said that was a natural instinct of his," said Julien with a rare smile. "To be serious about this, this is something that just shows some desperation.
"He knew where he was, he knew what he had to do and he just desperately made the move.
"And kudos to him for doing that and certainly not something you practice but desperation makes you do a lot of things."