Ryder revival give Bruins reason to say hallelujah

Wheeler has spent the bulk of his two-season NHL career on left wing opposite Ryder. He knows firsthand the benefit of Ryder using his stick blade like a magnet to control the puck.

“Well last year, that’s what he did. He lugged the puck and no one could take it from him,” said Wheeler. “I think he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now, so he feels like when he has the puck he makes something happen with it.

“When he’s playing with confidence, that’s what he does. It’s something that comes from within him. How many times last year did you see him, he’d have the puck for 15 seconds on his stick without passing or anything? No one could take it from him. So it’s something that when he’s playing with confidence he does really well. He’s a guy that you want the puck on his stick because he can pretty much score from anywhere. So it’s a lot of fun to see him playing like that.”

It’s difficult to know if any off-ice issues contributed to Ryder’s on-ice ineptitude. Obviously, the situation with his brother Dan Ryder, who was recently deemed unfit to stand trial on this winter’s armed robbery charge, would’ve been a distraction to even the most locked-in athlete. All the elder Ryder will cop to right now is letting his struggles on the ice consume him at and away from the rink.

Once he decided to no longer allow the negatives eat away at him, he finally found some positives coming his way.

“When you’re looked at to score, and the team struggled to score all season, when you’re a guy that’s looked at to score and you’re not doing that, it kind of takes a toll on you and I put a lot of pressure on myself,” he said. “I just kind of said there at the end of the year, last couple games, I just said ‘all right, just relax and just play and don’t think about it too much.’ And everything just worked out.”

The Bruins can raise their arms in praise of Ryder now that everything’s working out in their favor.

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