Nathan Horton is second on the Bruins with 18 points in 17 post-season games and leads all playoff players with a plus-22. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
CHICAGO – Nathan Horton of the Boston Bruins would not talk about what is clearly a shoulder injury, but he did declare he’s healthy enough to get into the lineup for Game 2 Saturday night. And that’s a huge sigh of relief for the Bruins, who are clearly having depth issues with the injury to Gregory Campbell.
It’s believed Horton dislocated his shoulder in the first overtime period of Game 1, which is a residual effect of the injury he suffered in a fight with Jarome Iginla in April, but Horton is confident there will be no issues going forward.
“There’s no fear at all,” Horton said. “I knew I was going to play. I feel good, I’m ready. It’s good to be back in it.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien, who would be faced with the prospect of shortening his bench if Horton gets hurt again in Game 2, said he has no hesitation keeping the NHL’s playoff plus-minus leader in the lineup.
“He feels really good and he looked really good out there (during the morning skate),” Julien said. “There’s no reason why he shouldn’t play tonight.”
Bruins winger Jaromir Jagr did not participate in the morning skate either, but Julien said it was simply a case of Jagr taking the morning off.
“He’s 100 percent,” Julien said. “He’s 41.”
Just as he was two years ago before his playoffs were ended with a concussion, Horton has been very effective this post-season playing on the Bruins top line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. His plus-22 not only leads all players, but it’s seven better than Krejci, who is second in the league. One of the few defensive miscues Horton has made, however, led to the Blackhawks first goal in Game 1.
“You look at stats over the course of the playoffs, you look at his plus-minus, you wonder sometimes plus-minus might be misleading,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. “You watch him play the other night and you say it’s not a fluke. That line has been very effective and efficient. I know that line certainly gave us something to be concerned with from the start of that game and ongoing.”
After what seems like an eternity since Game 1, both teams have managed to put the result of that game in the rear-view mirror. For the Hawks, that means getting back to business and for the Bruins, it means not dwelling on what might have been had they not blown a two-goal lead in the third period or had they managed to score in overtime.
“Our guys were fine the next day, they were fine yesterday, they were fine this morning,” Julien said. “It’s a new game. It’s a series where you got to win four games. I don't think we came in here saying, ‘We're going to sweep these guys.’ We knew it was going to be a tough series. We have to focus on tonight, stop wasting our time worrying about what could have happened last game.”