The challenge for the Boston Bruins right now is to maintain their high level of focus and determination in order to keep their run of success going. For winger Michael Ryder, the objective is the same, except he also has to figure out how to get the puck to reach the back of the net more often.
While Ryder, to his credit, has taken the third most shots on the team (60, tied with Marc Savard and behind only Phil Kessel and Patrice Bergeron), he’s only scored three goals (to go along with 11 assists). The Bruins, obviously, want to get more for their $4 million, and Ryder wants to give them more, but for right now he’s just going to keep doing what he’s been doing — and that’s playing strong in all three zones.

“I wanted to make sure I was pretty solid defensively and make sure I played a good all-around game and not hurt the team in any way. The first part of the season, I was just making sure … now it’s just a matter of getting it going and putting the puck in the net,” he said this afternoon after practice.

Although the Bruins mostly signed Ryder because they wanted him to regain his 30-goal form from the two seasons prior to last winter, they also billed him as a solid backchecker and defensive player. He’s lived up to the hype, including his ability to create more traffic in front of the net (especially on the power play). Luckily for Ryder, with the Bruins getting balanced scoring from the entire line-up, he doesn’t have to feel the desperation that can sometimes come with lengthy goal droughts.

“It’s tough when you don’t score and the team’s not winning, but this year, we have four lines that can go play and score goals, and that’s the good thing about it. Now I’ve just got to make sure I keep playing and eventually (my chances) will go in,” he said.

And Ryder could also be an invaluable source of experience. Last year, he played on a Montreal club that started out fast and wound up winning the regular season Eastern Conference title. That’s a position the Bruins hope they’re in come spring.

“I was used to it last year in Montreal, the winning, so I can help the guys here. But I think everyone’s handling it good and we have a good team here and I think we can keep it going,” he said.

“What we’re doing right now is pretty much the same thing (we did in Montreal. Just making sure every night we competed. Some teams get in a really bad funk and can’t get out of it, and we have to make sure that doesn’t happen to us. We’ve got to keep practicing hard and not take days off.”