Montreal Canadiens right wing Michael Ryder is hoping he's finally shaken a frustrating scoring slump.
He'll look to build off his first goal in 10 games Wednesday when the Canadiens host the Minnesota Wild.
Ryder scored a power-play goal in the first period of Montreal's 3-1 win over Atlanta on Saturday. He took a rebound and drove a slap shot past Johan Hedberg for his first goal since Oct. 26 at Boston.
"It kind of popped out perfect for me," he said. "I just walked into it and let it go."
Ryder scored 25 goals and had a career-high 63 points as a rookie in 2003-04, and had 30 goals and 55 points last season. He scored four goals in the first nine games this season before the drought.
"Sometimes you go through slumps but I try not to get frustrated," Ryder said. "I just make sure I keep shooting, and it went in tonight."
Second-year right wing Alexander Perezhogin also ended a slump Saturday, getting his first goal in nine games. Perezhogin had nine goals and 10 assists as a rookie in 2005-06.
The Canadiens (11-5-3), who have won three of four, avoided losing consecutive games for the first time this season with the victory over the Thrashers. Montreal, however, has not won more than two in a row.
Cristobal Huet, who made 39 saves Saturday, has started three of Montreal's last five games and appeared in each contest over that span. He has allowed two or fewer goals in five of his last six starts, and coach Guy Carbonneau named him the starter for Wednesday's game.
On Saturday, Huet deflected praise to his team's defense for shutting down a potent Atlanta lineup. The Canadiens have allowed two or fewer goals in six of their last seven victories.
"They tried to throw a lot on net and they didn't have many second chances - if they had one," he said.
The Wild (12-7-1) are coming off Monday's 5-3 loss at Ottawa. Minnesota, which started the season 9-1-0, has lost seven of its last 10.
The Wild outshot the Senators 37-16 in the final two periods after allowing three first period goals, but were unable to come back from a 4-0 deficit early in the second. Minnesota fell to 4-6-0 on the road this season.
"The bottom line is we weren't sharp when they dropped the puck," said Brian Rolston, who scored on a penalty shot for the second time this season. "They got three quick goals on us and then we were fighting back all night. I thought we played well after that, but too little, too late."
Minnesota has won three of the last four in this series, including a 4-3 overtime victory at home in the teams' only meeting last season.