BOSTON – Nathan Horton is just happy to be here.
|Horton, right, battles Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Sean O'Donnell during a fight during the second period in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoff series in Boston, Wednesday, May 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) |
And as he continues to produce on the ice, everyone in a spoked-B sweater (on the Boston roster and in the stands at TD Garden) is happy to have him here in the Hub of Hockey.
Horton continued to fill up the score sheet Wednesday night, registering a “Gordie Howe hat trick” in Boston’s 5-1 win over Philadelphia in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
An usual feat in the postseason, the Howe trick is made up of an assist, a goal and a fight, all of which Horton had collected prior to the second intermission of Game 3.
The assist came on David Krejci’s first period tally. Horton then took on Philadelphia’s Sean O’Donnell in a bout early in the second and finished up the trick with Boston’s fourth goal 15:14 into the second frame.
However, in terms of personal feats, Horton was more concerned with the team’s results than his own accomplishments.
“Just anything to do for a win. If things happen on the ice, it’s kind of how it went,” said Horton. "But the big thing is we won and we want to keep winning.”
His 10 games with Boston this postseason are the only ten of Horton’s seven-year NHL career. He has 5-3-8 totals with a plus-5 rating.
“A lot of fun, a lot of excitement,” Horton said of the playoffs. “It’s been a blast. I can’t describe it any better. It’s been a lot of fun to play in the playoffs, this is what hockey is all about.”
Horton got off to a bit of a slow start, as did his entire line (which includes Krejci and Milan Lucic) in the first round series against Montreal. But two overtime game-winning snipes in Games 5 and 7 put the 25-year-old’s nerves at ease.
“Well I think the first game, just being overly excited maybe and just wanting to get there so much, just being overly excited and too anxious,” said Horton. “But I settled in a little bit and we are starting to play the hockey we want to play.”
With his limited playoff experience, Horton hasn’t felt the emotions that last year’s Bruins squad did as they dropped four consecutive game to the Flyers to end their season after having a 3-0 series lead.
“Whatever happened last year, that’s what is last year,” Horton said.
“You do look around the room and probably more than half the guys are new. So it obviously gives you something to talk about but it doesn’t mean anything to us. That is in the past and we’re not even thinking about that.”
What the Bruins are thinking about is how they intend to close the Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Flyers tonight in Game 4 at TD Garden. According to Horton, the fact that they have another three games if Game 4 doesn’t go their way hasn’t crossed the Bruins minds and they are looking to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals tonight.
“Well we are feeling good obviously it’s nice being up three games. But the job is not done yet, we all know that,” said Horton.
“It’s not over until it’s over."