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Michael Ryder’s overtime winner gives Bruins 5-4 win to even series 2-2

April 21, 2011

Chris Kelly's goal and two assists came up huge as the third line in Game 4. (Getty)

It was evident that both teams knew the importance of the game and ice was hard to come by in the opening few shifts with a lot of checking in the neutral zone, forcing the dump and chase game. Both teams focused on muddying the middle of the zone and making it difficult for the goalies to see the puck cleanly.

The Canadiens began to swarm the Bruins zone, using their speed to their advantage and even bringing a bit of physicality to their game along the boards. David Desharnais set up behind the net and backhanded a pass out front. The pass trickled through traffic but wound up on Brent Sopel‘s stick at the point. The shot was hammered low blocker side and beat Thomas through the armpit. The Bruins defenders were all protecting the net, leaving Sopel alone with time and space.

The Canadiens would ratchet up the pressure after the goal, outshooting the Bruins 16-4 in the first 15 minutes of the period. The Bruins would get a fortunate power-play in the defensive zone with around 5:30 left in the period, stemming the tide after a series of tremendous shifts by the Canadiens. The Bruins power-play was pathetic, the Canadiens worked the Bruins over with aggressive checking in all zones.

As a whole it was a dominating period for the Habs but they only managed a 1-0 lead after one period.

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Michael Ryder would provide the response for the Bruins early in the second period when he rushed up the right side and sniped on Carey Price. Ryder caught the Montreal defense in a change and took advantage, getting in deep into the offensive zone and picked the corner.

The Habs responded a few minuts later, testing Tim Thomas, forcing him to make frantic saves. The Canadiens attacked a lot, and nearly scored a few times. Mike Cammalleri would eventually regain the lead for Montreal on a breakdown in the defensive zone. Tim Thomas was caught out of position with the puck behind the net. Brian Gionta quickly won possession behind the net and fired a pass through the crease to Cammalleri who tipped it home from the crease. Thomas had no idea where the puck was and the defense couldn’t defend at the end of a long shift.

The Canadiens scored would score their third goal on a 2-on-1. Andrei Kostitsyn finished the 2-on-1 with a squeaker that beat Thomas low. The Bruins appeared to be caught in a bad line change as Andrew Ference was the only defender back. Tomas Plekanec flicked a saucer pass over Ference to Kostitsyn in space who promptly finished before Thomas could get over.

Andrew Ference would answer back for the Bruins with a rare bomb from the point on a broken play at the top of the Canadiens zone. The puck laid motionless at the top of the zone and Ference came in for the one-timer that beat Price high glove side. Ference’s blast was helped out by a high screen by Brad Marchand.

Patrice Bergeron would even the gap when the Bruins caught the Habs away from their net. An attempt from the point was caught by Marchand at the side of the goal. Price reacted but couldn’t get back in his net in time to get a pad on the puck. Marchand quickly wheeled to Bergeron at the top of the paint, who put it in easily.

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The Bruins were called for hooking just 32 seconds in when Bergeron was sent off on the forecheck. P.K. Subban would put the Habs back up on the power-play when he beat Thomas short side from the dot. Thomas was screened by a defenseman on his knees and Subban placed it well, catching Thomas off guard.

The goal finally allowed the Habs to go into their defensive shell and do it effectively, clearing the zone and dumping in frequently. The Bruins had a few good chances on one shift by the second line, jamming away around the net but failed to put it in. Johnny Boychuk ended the sequence with a chance to roof it in over Price but shot it into the glove.

David Krejci had a good chance when he was hit out front but couldn’t corral the puck as he went across the mouth of the goal.

Chris Kelly would get a garbage goal with six minutes left. The third line did a good job of working the boards until Rich Peverley fisted the puck into the crease. Kelly then hammered the puck five-hole to tie the game up at 4-4.

With 2:19 left in the game Dennis Seidenberg took a terrible penalty when he was called for interference. The Bruins killed it off by the skin of their teeth and took the game to overtime.

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Going with the well-found theory that overtime games either end early or late, the Bruins ended it very early when Michael Ryder potted a shot from in close to give the Bruins a 5-4 win in overtime to draw the series even. Rich Peverley’s shot missed the net but kicked around to Chris Kelly on the far side. As Price was trying to get back into position Kelly quickly wheeled across the crease to Ryder who lifted it over the down and out Price.

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