BOSTON (CBS) — The last time Wade Redden scored a goal in the NHL playoffs before Wednesday night, the Bruins were a laughingstock franchise that didn’t qualify for the postseason.
A lot has changed since Redden lit the lamp for the Ottawa Senators in the Stanley Cup Final on May 28, 2007, against the Anaheim Ducks. The Senators lost the series, Redden moved on to the New York Rangers a couple of years later and then landed in the minor leagues because his salary was strangling the Rangers’ cap.
The Bruins, of course, turned their franchise around and capped off the comeback with the Cup title in 2011. Now Redden’s wearing black and gold, and if he keeps performing like he did in the Bruins’ 4-1 win against Toronto in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at TD Garden, the Bruins could be on their way to another memorable run.
Redden’s goal 16:20 into the game tied the score, and he later assisted on Nathan Horton’s goal that gave the Bruins the lead for good.
“It’s a win,” Redden said in response to a question about the goal. “That’s really what it all boils down to. It’s one win in a series. I’m not getting too nostalgic on things. Obviously, it’s just one game, so you got to keep with it.”
Redden knows all about “keeping with it.” When the Rangers sent him to Hartford of the American League, he easily could’ve quit. He’d already made a fortune on his contracts with Ottawa and New York. Instead, he skated in more than 100 games for the Wolf Pack/Whale.
Finally, he was bought out days after the lockout ended. He signed on with St. Louis and was traded at the deadline to the Bruins to provide depth. By the end of the regular season, he’d earned a spot in the Bruins’ top six.
“He’s a player that’s gone through some rough times and what we tried to do when he came here is make him feel welcome, make him feel appreciated and give him some confidence that way. And so far it’s paying dividends,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
Redden’s two-point night put him at 49 points in 102 NHL playoff games. That type of experience in invaluable to what the Bruins are trying to do.
“It’s great to be here now and have the chance, and I’m going to try to make the most of it,” he said.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes coverage to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.