BOSTON – Michael Ryder’s third period penalty shot clinched the Northeast Division title for the Bruins, as Boston defeated the Atlanta Thrashers 3-2 this afternoon in TD Garden.
|Boston Bruins' Michael Ryder, left, celebrates with goalie Tuukka Rask, of Finland, after the Bruins beat the Atlanta Thrashers 3-2 in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) |
The goal was Ryder’s first since Feb. 27 against Edmonton, and thirteen game goalless span for the winger.
“I’ve struggled to find goals lately. Last game goalpost, then earlier tonight crossbar. Just got to try and stay with it. Like I said before, if I keep just working hard and shooting the puck, it’ll go in for me,” said Ryder.
Boston came out strong as the sellout TD Garden crowd welcomed Atlanta's Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart back to Boston, and Rich Peverley
faced his former teammates in the Thrashers.
Mark Recchi started the scoring off for Boston as he tipped a goal behind Atlanta goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (21 saves) at 4:34 in the first, assisted by Patrice Bergeron
and NESN’s 7th
Player Award winner, Brad Marchand
“We turned the puck over on the half boards and Marshy [Brad Marchand
] and I went to the net. Marshy [Marchand] threw it and somehow it snuck through his [Ondrej Pavelec] legs. I just happened to be standing there,” Recchi said.
“I’ll take it. It was kind of my spot.”
Atlanta didn’t go down easy, outshooting Boston 30-24 in the game. Atlanta tied the game before the first frame was over, and took an early second period lead.
But Boston battled back as Daniel Paille
netted the shorthander at 6:18 in the second for his fourth goal of the season.
“I just wanted to get in the play, I felt that it wasn’t high enough so I just thought to get a jump on there and I noticed they were just trying to pass around me so I was just trying to play big, the puck came at me and hit my glove, bounced over [Dustin] Byfuglien’s stick. I didn’t have much room, but I got enough to get it up high,” Paille said of the goal.
A few times the Thrashers thought they had found the back of the net, but B’s goaltender Tuukka Rask
made 28 saves en route to his 11th
victory of the season, giving Boston faith in their goaltending duo as they head into the post season.
“He made some big saves, you saw him slide over and make some big saves at the right times. And he was big for us tonight. That’s what you want out of Tuukka [Rask] right now. It gives us a lot of confidence, as I keep saying, every time he plays. It’s nice to see that you have two good goaltenders that you can rely on no matter who is in.,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said after the game.
But it was Ryder, recently reinserted into the line-up after Shawn Thornton
needed 40 stitches in his face, who took home all the glory tonight. The penalty shot came with less than eight minutes to go in the game, and Ryder picked the puck up at the center dot, skated it and sliced it over Pavelec’s shoulder for the game-winner.
“It was a big goal for us, we wanted to make sure we got the win today, and I think we’ve played better games but as long as we get the two points that doesn’t mean anything,” Ruder said.
It was Ryder’s 17th goal of the season, and his fifth game-winner.
The Bruins are Northeast Division Champions and have clinched home-ice advantage for the first round of the postseason, but Boston has no plans of slowing down.
“It’s what a lot of teams obviously battle for, so I’m glad that that’s out of the way. Again, we just got to keep playing and playing to win our next games and see where we end up,” said Julien.