Everyone talks about Tim Thomas. Everyone talks about Patrice Bergeron. Everyone talks about David Krejci. And rightfully so. Yet, one name that seems to get lost in the shuffle for the Boston Bruins is Nathan Horton. In the first postseason of his career, Horton has been clutch for Eastern Conference Champions.
The whole Bruins team was bad in the first two games of the playoffs (both losses), but Horton indeed looked like he was playing in his first postseason. Ever since Game 3 of that series against Montreal, Horton has found another gear for the B’s.
For the most part, Horton has been a consistent producer in these playoffs following a streaky regular season. Of his eight playoff goals, three are of the game-winning variety. Two came in overtime in Round 1, including the Game 7 winner. Then, obviously, he scored the lone goal in Friday’s decisive contest. He became the first player in NHL history to have two game-winning goals in a Game 7 in a single postseason. Now that’s clutch.
Also, Boston is 8-0 when Horton scores a goal. It’s indicative of what kind of impact their top line has when they’re clicking on all cylinders; center-man David Krejci has played a role in Horton’s success this spring.
When GM Peter Chiarelli acquired the 25-year-old winger from Florida last summer (Horton and Dennis Wideman were the centerpieces to the blockbuster), he was hoping to get another big body that could score goals to go alongside Milan Lucic and company. Horton, who is tied for first on the team with 17 points in these playoffs, is definitely doing his part this spring as he’s proving to be tough to keep off the score-sheet.
When Horton hasn’t been scoring goals, he’s been chucking water bottles at Lightning fans. Some felt he even should have been suspended for Friday’s tilt (I was not one of them). Instead, he got off scot-free and wound up scoring the series-deciding goal in Game 7. Funny how that stuff works out, huh?
As Horton and the Bruins head to Vancouver to get the ball rolling in the final, the team will need the birthday boy on Sunday to continue to drive the net and contribute offensively. If so, the playoff newbie could help lead the B’s to their first Stanley Cup since Richard Nixon was in Office (1972).
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