BOSTON -- Before the Boston Bruins’ 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Wednesday night, Wade Redden told the media that he was excited to be back in the playoffs and in the Bruins' lineup. The defenseman, acquired from the St. Louis Blues at the trade deadline, wasn’t about to get sentimental in the face of his first postseason game since 2009, when he was with the New York Rangers, but it's clear Redden relished the opportunity.
Redden made the most of a chance he likely thought he’d never have again after spending the past two seasons buried in the AHL with the Rangers’ affiliate, the Connecticut Whale (formerly the Hartford Wolf Pack). He helped jump-start the Bruins' offense, erasing an early 1-0 Toronto lead with a goal 16:20 into the first period. He then rifled a shot from the point that Nathan Horton tipped in for a power-play goal that proved to be the game winner.
After the game, Redden acknowledged some satisfaction but was more concerned with crediting his teammates and looking ahead to Game 2.
“It was a great effort all-around,” Redden said. “I think everyone had a strong game and we had played, I think, a lot of the time in their end. That makes a D-man’s job a lot easier. For sure, we’re going to expect a different game come Saturday night, but we’ll take that one and move on.
“It’s been a long road. Obviously, the position I was in, a lot of uncertainties. But I kept working and kept believing. It’s great to be here now and have the chance, and I’m going to try to make the most of it.”
While Redden may have wanted to deflect attention, his teammates and coach weren’t about to downplay what a great story he appears to be scripting.
“I was really happy for him,” coach Claude Julien said. “I think I said that this morning, he’s a player that has gone through some rough times. What we’ve tried to do when he came here is make him feel welcome, make him feel appreciated, and give him some confidence that way. So far, it’s paid dividends.”
Redden's blue-line mate, Andrew Ference, echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“Everybody is really happy for him,” Ference said. “His whole last two years, just to get back playing at this level out of the AHL, and now to be able to contribute for us in the playoffs -- guys are very happy for him. He’s got a lot of respect not just in this room, but you could tell just with his old teammates and stuff, he’s a well-respected player.”