MONTREAL -- Michael Ryder scored his second goal of the game 1:59 into overtime to lead the Bruins to a 5-4 win over the Canadiens, tying their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series at two games apiece as it heads back to Boston for Game 5 Saturday.
Ryder comes alive at right time. With only one goal in his last 20 games (playoffs and regular season) many were calling for Michael Ryder to be a scratch heading into Game 4. But Ryder silenced the critics with two goals and an assist, including the Bruins’ biggest goal of the season and one of the biggest in recent playoff memory with the overtime winner. Ryder was creating and hustling all night, and it paid off in a big way for the former Hab.
Depth lines carrying play for Bruins. While the Bruins' top line of Milan Lucic–David Krejci-Nathan Horton has struggled, the second line of Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi has been huge, and in Game 4, the third line of Rich Peverley-Chris Kelly-Michael Ryder turned it up a notch too. Whenever the Bruins have needed a good shift in this series, Marchand, Bergeron and Recchi have delivered, and on Thursday they were the spark the team needed to hang with a Habs team that came to play. Bergeron had a goal and an assist, Marchand had two helpers and Recchi seemed to always be on the doorstep, where he has made a career of getting the dirty goals needed in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Ryder had two goals and an assist, Kelly had a goal and two assists, and Peverley had two helpers.
Thomas gives Bruins a chance. Tim Thomas may still be giving up juicy rebounds and his erratic style may scare fans, but if not for Thomas, the Bruins could have easily been blown out. Thomas made 15 saves in the first period and prevented the game from getting completely out of hand. Thomas committed highway robbery on more than one occasion and finished with 34 saves.
Horrible start for Bruins. In a game that could have been viewed as a Game 7, the Bruins came out exceptionally flat and were completely outplayed by the Habs in the first period, getting outshot 15-8 and losing the physical battles. They also played as if the puck were a hot potato, turning it over for numerous Habs scoring chances, most notably Adam McQuaid blindly clearing the puck out to Brent Sopel for Montreal’s first goal. The Bruins were lucky to be trailing only 1-0 headed to the second period; it easily could have been 5-0 if not for Thomas.
Penalty kill comes up huge to force OT . Dennis Seidenberg was called for interference at the 17:41 mark of the third period, giving the Habs a great chance to win in regulation, but the penalty kill came up huge. Thomas made some more big stops and the Bruins did a great job of keeping the Habs on the perimeter and not allowing chances down low. The Bruins killed off one of two Montreal power plays for the game.
Cammalleri keeps heat on. Mike Cammalleri is killing the Bruins through the first four games. The Habs alternate captain had a goal and two assists Thursday and now has two goals and five assists for the series.
Kelly plays. After returning to Boston to be examined by doctors for a head injury suffered in Game 3, Chris Kelly returned to Montreal, participated in the morning skate and was in the lineup in his normal spot between Peverley and Ryder. Kelly assisted on the Bruins' first goal scored by Ryder at 2:13 of the second period and tied it 4-4 13:42 into the third. Here’s what the forward lines and defensive pairings looked like:
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley-Michael Ryder
Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Tomas Kaberle-Adam McQuaid
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk