Let’s do some math.
It’s been 10 years since the Boston Bruins have moved past the first round of the playoffs, which means that dozens of different men donning the Black & Gold have taken to the ice, led by seven different coaches, seen by millions of the Black & Gold faithful, all in hopes of making it to where the 2008-09 squad is now two games shy of.
But when you really crunch the numbers and get right down to it, there are a few more reasons to be excited about the current Boston lineup. And one of those reasons is named Michael Ryder.
The 29-year-old Ryder, who played for the Canadiens prior to signing with Boston this season, has been making number magic all year long. Saturday night’s 5-1 thumping of Montreal was no different, where the right-winger executed well on all levels, notching a goal and an assist on the night.
“It was a relief,” he said of scoring against his former teammates. “It took a few games.
“I think we made a lot of better decisions tonight than we did last game,” Ryder said after the game. “We knew Montreal worked hard and was going to come out hard. I think we responded well and got the jump on them.”
Of course, it’s only Game 2, and every mathematician knows that in a best-of-seven series, two games in the win column doesn’t mean much of anything.
“I think we might even have to play a bit harder, it’s always hard to win in [the Bell Centre] and we know it’s not going to be easy,” he said. “We just have to make sure we do the same thing we did tonight, and maybe just do it a little better.”
“We knew Montreal worked hard and was going to come out hard. I think we responded well." - Michael Ryder
Ryder currently has had three points (one goal and two assists) in the playoffs, but in 74 regular-season contests he has found the back of the net 27 times and helped on 26 goals, making him 88th overall in the league for points.
But it’s not always just a numbers game.
“We knew last game that we probably needed to move the puck a little more and try to get shots at net and I think tonight we did that,” he said. “We moved their box around and managed to find the holes.”
One of those holes Ryder happened to find came with 8:13 remaining in the second with a pass to linemate Marc Savard
for the fourth goal of the game. And then Savard returned the favor with just 2.3 seconds ticking off the clock to give Ryder and Boston their final point of the game.
“We just wanted make sure we kept moving our feet and kept things going forward instead of side to side.”
So what will the rest of this series bring for Ryder and the rest of Boston’s boys? Well, if the numbers add up, it shouldn’t be all too shabby.
The B’s have a 4-1 post-season record against the Canadiens when they’ve already captured the first two games of the series. It is the 49th time in their history that they have won the first two games of a post-season series and they have a 35-13 record in those contests.
Nothing is for sure in the game of hockey, and the Bruins know that sometimes the numbers just don’t add up, but they’re sure going to try.
Off to Montreal they go.