Boston might be without one of its best forwards Saturday night when the Bruins face the Blackhawks in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at the United Center.
Right winger Nathan Horton left Game 1 late in the first overtime and did not return, as the Blackhawks prevailed 4-3 in triple OT. Horton appeared to bump into defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in front of the Blackhawks net and might have aggravated an upper-body injury.
“Day to day,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Horton’s status.
“It (stinks),” said left winger Milan Lucic, whose first of 2 goals was set up by Horton, with fellow linemate David Krejci also assisting. “Everyone knows how big of a player he is for us, especially in the playoffs. He’s also shown that he can score big goals at big times.”
Horton, who suffered a severe concussion in the Stanley Cup Final two years ago after an illegal open-ice hit by Vancouver’s Aaron Rome, has 18 points (7 goals) in 17 playoff games.
“He’s definitely a big part of our team,” said center Patrice Bergeron, whose power-play goal put the Bruins ahead 3-1 in the third period. “But we’ll see. Hopefully he’s fine.”
He’s “Mini Me” compared to fellow Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, who stands 6-feet-9.
Boston’s 5-9 Torey Krug made a King Kong-sized turnover that led to Dave Bolland’s goal, pulling the Blackhawks within 3-2 with 12 minutes left in the third period. The Blackhawks forced overtime on Johnny Oduya’s goal at the 12:14 mark.
“I’d probably try (the pass) again in the future,” said Krug, whose 4 playoff goals have been huge for the Bruins. “I would just execute it differently. For me, playing that way, you have to have a short-term memory. I think the best players do. I’ll quickly forget about it. I’ll learn from it.”
Bruins believe in bounce-back:
Boston overcame a 2-0 finals deficit against Vancouver to win the Stanley Cup in 2011, and the Bruins also rebounded from losing their first two at home against Montreal earlier in this year’s playoffs. So no Bruin is getting uptight about losing Wednesday night’s Game 1, which saw the two teams combine for 117 shots on goal in a triple-OT thriller.
“It was a good hockey game,” said Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference, whose skate deflected in Johnny Oduya’s game-tying goal in the third period. “I think there were a lot of great plays. There are a lot of guys that were frustrated with not putting the puck in the net on certain chances. I think you look back at the game as a whole and you say this is going to be a tight series. It’s not like there were no chances on net, no good plays. Guys played their game. Finishing wasn’t there. There was some great goaltending. So you just move on.”
“You have to (bounce back),” said goalie Tuukka Rask, who made 59 saves. “Move forward and just try to get that next one.”
One thing for certain, Bruins coach Claude Julien believes in his team’s fight, character and chemistry to overcome adversity.
“I don’t think much is going to rattle our team,” Julien said. “We’re a pretty resilient group of guys. We live in the moment. (Game 1) is a game we all know — hope we should all know — that could have gone either way. Both teams had great chances. We could be sitting here today up 1-0 as much as we are down 1-0.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.