Bruins

Seguin finds a chemistry partner in Ryder

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Seguin finds a chemistry partner in Ryder

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

TAMPA In Game 2, Claude Julien just might have found a permanenthome for 19-year-old Tyler Seguin when it comes to the playoffs. Julien placed the heraldedrookie with Michael Ryder and Chris Kelly, and the three showed chemistry together almostimmediately, tallying four goals in Boston's 6-5 win.

What makes Seguin's stable new home even better for the Bruins, though, is thatit should only help the youngsters confidence after he endureda season of musical chairs and uncertaintywith his linemates.

Seguin skated on the right side with Ryder workingoff the left wing and with the underrated Kelly at center. The trio jolted the Bruins' offense to life and helped the B's even the series with the Lightning, 1-1 after a strong effort that again showed off the B's forward depth.

We put it behind us . . . and its off to bigger and better things, said Seguin. Im trying to bring the compete level and battle level to my game, and it seems to be working out.

The Ryder-Seguin connection has seen plenty of action throughout the season, if not on the scoreboard. Sometimes they looked great. Other times, they were average at best -- and certainly disappeared as Ryder cooled off and Seguin learned the ropes.

But Ryder showed exactly what he can do while riding shotgun and playing against the vaunted Lightning, just as he did during Bostons barnstorming trip through Ireland and the Czech Republic to start the season. He also now has 13 goals and 27 playoff points in 37 career postseason games with the Bruins -- a number that carries plenty of weight after the wingeroft-times waltzing through the regular season. "You look back at some of the stats in the playoffs and what Ryderhas done in the past and even last year, was a real tough year for him," said Julien. "But in the playoffs he was a decent player and Michael Ryder has been really reliable in the playoffs for us ever since Ive known him. There is no doubt he seems to be one of those players that plays his best when the playoffs come around."

On that European trip to start the season, he helped Seguin score his first career NHL goal with his vision and his overlooked passing ability.

In a pass similar to the one that allowed Seguin to break free against the Coyotes in Prague, Ryder authored a near carbon copy at the neutral zone in the second period of Game 2 and Seguin did the rest. He beat Tampa Bay goalie Dwayne Roloson with a schoolyard backhander that was exactly the opposite of the forehand hed utilized two nights before in Game 1.

That synergy between Ryder and Seguin lasted all night as Seguin showed the willingness to take a hit in order to make a play. He risked both life and limb in a way that he wouldnt have earlier in the season.

He made one no-look backhand pass while up against the boards that eventually opened up a scoring chance for Ryder, which Ryder finished.

Ive seen it," Julie said of Seguin's development. "There are times where maybe Seguin would have heard footsteps on that playand would have got rid of it instead, but thats what confidence is, thats what growing is. And thats the part that sometimes can be tough for people on the outside to see. They see the potential, but its our job to work with this guy and help him grow properly.

"And I think right now what were seeing, were not disappointed. There is no doubt we like what we see. And like I said, the timing couldnt be better.

For his part, Ryder has voiced a comfort level with whatever charges might be coming his way, and the line of SeguinKellyRyder is primed to have a very good run. It's due in large part to the play of Seguin as well as the oft-maligned Ryder, who has a knack for stepping up in big games. He's come a long way from a guy with humble beginnings in practice. "First time I met him he came out of Newfoundland and where he lived andhe hardly practiced, he just played games with his team. So he was really really raw," said Julien. "But when he came to our junior team at the time, the Hull Olympiques, I could tell right from training camp he had a lot of raw talent."Hes one of those guys, just like Tyler Seguin, that had to grow through this in his first year, not used to practicing or being on the ice everyday, and thats where he earned the nickname, Easy Ryder, because there were some days where he would have preferred being off the ice."One thing is for sure: Ryder paired with Seguin during this year's B's playoff run is a long way from his "Easy Ryder" days.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Julien thankful for B's video tribute, "happy he can move on"

Julien thankful for B's video tribute, "happy he can move on"

BOSTON – It was the final piece of closure for former Bruins coach Claude Julien when he made his return to TD Garden for the first time as the bench boss for the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. Julien stood on the visiting bench, watched a first period video tribute of appreciation for his 10-years guiding the Bruins and then received the warm, thankful ovation from the B’s fans that still very much appreciate his efforts that resulted in a 2011 Stanley Cup title. 

Unfortunately for him and the Canadiens he also presided over a lifeless, limp effort from his Montreal club in a 4-1 loss to the Bruins where his team simply couldn’t derive any emotion or juice from his return to Boston. Julien said in both French and English that that his Habs simply “laid an egg” on the road, and that was disappointing for him given that Montreal already has their backs against the wall for a possible playoff spot. 

Instead Julien’s biggest bright spot in the game turned out to be the video tribute from the Bruins midway through the first period, for which he was greatly appreciative. 

“It’s always something that you kind of dread a little bit because it’s a little emotional, and at the same time [you’re] trying to keep your emotions intact there so you can coach a game and stuff like that. But, you know, I appreciate what they did for me,” said Julien following his second loss to the Bruins in five days. “As I said, I’ve got nothing but good things to say about this organization that gave me the opportunity to spend 10 years here. At the same time I’m kind of happy it’s over so we can move on now, but that doesn’t mean you forget what’s happened here. It’s always going to be with you. But now I’m in another chapter of my coaching career, and I’ve got to think about that.”

Julien’s counterpart, Bruce Cassidy, called the video tribute a “classy move” by the Bruins organization after the game had been settled, and there’s no doubting it was the right move for a coach that won over 400 games during his 10 years leading the Bruins. It was also the final chapter in his Bruins book as Julien now has completely moved on to his new gig guiding the Canadiens where it seems like his work is most definitely cut out for him. 

Spooner's strong play continues as B's dominate Habs

Spooner's strong play continues as B's dominate Habs

GOLD STAR: It had to feel good for Ryan Spooner. The speedy forward played a great game, finished with the game-winning goal in Claude Julien’s return to Boston and had both four shots on net and four registered hits in 16:07 of ice time. His goal was a level of grit and buy-in that he didn’t always have when Julien was the coach, but it’s one that he’s found more and more since Bruce Cassidy took over behind the B’s bench. Spooner drove the puck straight toward the net, and attempted to throw a pass backdoor to Matt Grzelcyk. But instead the puck bounced off Jonathan Drouin’s skate and ended up in the back of the net to make it a 2-1 game in the second period. For a player that long struggled under the watchful eye of Julien, Spooner’s night continued a stretch of very strong play since coming back from injury. 

BLACK EYE: Jonathan Drouin was supposed to be a game-changing center for the Canadiens after being moved from Tampa Bay, but he hasn’t even been close to that, or actually being a center, for the Habs this year. Drouin really didn’t bring much of anything on Wednesday night with a couple of shots on net, a giveaway and a 1-for-9 on the draw in his 17:04 of ice time. He was like so many of the other players on the Montreal roster that didn’t show up with their best in a rivalry game between the Bruins and the Habs. Even worse than that they didn’t show up in a game they desperately needed to win if they wanted to stay relevant in the playoff race. With the minus game again on Wednesday, Drouin is also now a minus-20 on the season in what’s been a truly disappointing year. 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins bounced back strongly after giving up a goal on the first shift of the game, and really took things over after the fortunate bounce for Jakub Jerabek got the Habs on the board early. The Bruins outshot the Canadiens by a 25-13 margin in the first two periods, dominated play and posted a goal in each of the first two periods to get the B’s on the board. From that point on it was smooth sailing and Boston only needed to collect a couple of insurance goals in the third period to truly seal Montreal’s fate. What was surprising was that the Habs showed little fight or pride while slowly sinking into the mud during the game, and never ever provided any real challenge to the Bruins in a game that was still separated by just a single goal until later in the third period. 

HONORABLE MENTION: David Krejci had one of his better games for the Bruins with a goal, two points and a plus-2 rating in 15:58 of ice time. It was an empty net goal that rounded out the scoring in the third period, and he finished with four shot attempts, a takeaway and 16-of-20 face-off wins in 15:58 of ice time. In general the Bruins frontline centers absolutely and thoroughly dominated Montreal’s poor excuse for players down the middle of their lineup, and Krejci was a big part of that in helping set up Spooner’s game-winner as well. Krejci was also a player that had his differences of opinion with Julien when he was coaching the Bruins, so the big game for him on Wednesday night also must have felt pretty cathartic when it was all said and done.   

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 – the number of games for Tuukka Rask’s current point streak where he’s put together a 13-0-2 record that dates back to his four game benching in the middle of November. He finished with a solid night’s work of 21 saves in the win over the Habs.  

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We laid an egg.” –Claude Julien said that phrase in both French and English to discuss a truly pathetic performance for his Canadiens team in what should have been an intense Bruins/Habs rivalry game on national television. 

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