By Danny Picard
BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Michael Ryder scores two more huge playoff goals, and allanybody wants to talk about is Tyler Seguin.
Okay, so Seguins two-goal, two-assist, plus-three effortundoubtedly earned him Tuesday nights first star, as the rookie led the Bruinsto a 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 at the TD Garden, eveningthe Eastern Conference Finals at 1-1.
And yes, he and Ryder have had a pretty good connection allseason long. And Ryder probably doesnt have a two-goal night if not forSeguin.
But two goals are two goals. And a game-winner is agame-winner.
Yet, following Bostons Game 2 win, Ryder couldnt escapequestions about Seguin. So much so, that he even showed his sarcastic side 10minutes into his media gathering when asked about the rookies improvements.
Who, he was playing better? Segs? asked Ryder.
He was kidding, of course. Even Ryder knew Seguin deservedall the headlines on Wednesday morning.
But there had to be a small part of him that wanted someoneto realize his two goals were pretty big, too. And that Seguin wasnt the onlyBruins player trying to answer critics in the postseason.
Like Seguin, Ryder knows how it feels to be a healthy scratch in the playoffs.He played in only four of Montreals 12 playoff games during his last seasonwith the Canadiens in 2007-08.
Thats the way it goes, I guess, you know? But I think welearned a lot from that, me and Segs, said Ryder after Tuesday nights win. Iwas there before, and Seguin did a great job. For his first playoffs, this is ahuge two games for him, and its definitely going to give him some confidence.
Other than that, Ryder and Seguin are answering to twodifferent types of critics this postseason.
Many Bruins fans have wanted Seguin dressed since Game 1against Montreal in the first round. Many of those same people wanted Ryder to be theguy watching the game from the ninth floor.
Ryder answered those critics with two goals in a Game 4overtime win over the Canadiens that evened up the series at 2-2, heading backto Boston for Game 5. Ryder scored the game-winner in overtime, and just like that, people were back on board.
Ryder had that opportunity because coach ClaudeJulien believed in him. That didnt seem to be the case with Seguin. It seemedeverybody in Boston wanted to see him dressed, and on the ice.
Not just on oneof the checking lines, but on the power play as well.
Bruins fans got their wish in the first two games of thisseries, mainly because Patrice Bergeron went down with a concussion at the end of thePhiladelphia series.
And make no mistake about it, Seguin proved he belongs inthe Bruins lineup for every game the rest of the way.
But so has Ryder.
I guess in this game, a lot of people always doubt you,said Ryder on Tuesday night. If things arent going well, people always havetheir own opinions. But I knew that I had to have a good playoffs to try andhelp this team. I want to do everything I can. It didnt matter if I wasntscoring. I just trying to do anything I can to help the team.
Ive just been working hard, and trying to create things.And its been working.
Ryder scored his third and fourth goals of the playoffs onTuesday night. His first came with 3:44 left in the second period, and with 49seconds left on a 5-on-4 power play.
Seguin took a low one-timer from the top of the left circle,which Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson saved with his left pad. Ryder wasparked out front, and flipped the rebound upstairs to give the Bruins a 5-3lead.
Thats what we need, to get traffic in front, and get shotsthere, and get those goals, said Ryder. Because those guys on the other team,they block a lot of shots, and they take the front of the net away. We need towork hard and just bang on loose pucks, and get those garbage goals.
Less than four minutes later, Ryder put the Bs up 6-3 withhis second goal of the night, as he found himself on the doorstep again andput home a rebound from a Chris Kelly shot from the high slot.
Seguin also got that play started, as he initially foundKelly in the high slot with a no-look, behind-the-back pass from the corner,picking up his fourth point of the night.
When I went in the corner, I took a quick look and sawKelly there, and I knew there were guys pressuring on me, said Seguin. Ikind of see David Krejci do it all the time, and I just tried to put it through theguys legs. I dont know exactly where it went, but I tried to get it outfront, and Kelly got the puck on net, and Ryder went to the net, which issomething hes doing really well right now.
Ryders been doing a lot well this postseason. And his twogoals on Tuesday night proved to be the difference-makers, since Tampa Bayscored two goals in the third period to cut Bostons lead to 6-5.
This time of year, its a lot of fun to play, said Ryder.This is where you want to be. I think a lot of guys that arent playing rightnow, would love to be in our situation. And weve got to make sure we takeadvantage of it.
Ryder sure is, even though nobody will be talkingabout him on Wednesday morning.
Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.