For someone who has never played in the playoffs, Nathan Horton
sure does know how to come up huge in the big games.
Last night, the B’s winger netted two goals, his 21st and 22nd of the season, in Boston’s 7-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
In a game that brought a playoff atmosphere to TD Garden and was indeed a possible first round preview, Horton’s two goals gave him his 10th multiple point game of the season.
“We just wanted to come out strong, play hard, finish our checks, play smart and just really work hard. Obviously, we want to start feeling better about ourselves, and tonight was good,” Horton said after the game.
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk
allowed Boston to come out strong when he netted the Bruins first goal just 1:01 into game.
“When you’re working hard I think that things come that way. We were working hard and obviously we got the first goal. We fed off that and just kept going. It’s fun to play in these games,” Horton said.
“It’s exciting for all of us.”
“We were a little bit nervous before the game. It’s a big game. To get that first goal really calmed us down. We wanted to relax, keep working hard and create chances.”
The previous time these teams met in TD Garden, more time was spent in the penalty box than on the ice with 187 PIMs being issued.
But Horton, who’s 6-foot-2, 229-pound frame brings controlled force to Boston’s line-up, stressed the importance of staying disciplined in a game where emotions were sure to run high.
“It’s a hockey game,” Horton said. “I think you just play within the rules, and play hard and you finish your hits and I think you get back-pressure and try to limit their chances, limit their opportunities and I think we did that.”
Horton netted his first goal and the B’s second of the night on the power play, marking the second consecutive game the Bruins have scored a man-advantage goal on a power play that ranks 21st in the league.
“It’s always nice to get the goal but to get [more] cushion there was nice going into the second [period],” Horton said of the tally.
Horton’s second goal was the first in Boston’s four-goal third period, was assisted by linemates Milan Lucic
and David Krejci
, who also picked up helpers on Horton’s first goal.
The Bruins first line has marked up the score sheet in recent weeks and last night contributed eight points in what Horton considered a statement win for the B’s.
“It was a big game like I said. We haven’t played well against them and we wanted to turn things around and really come out and play hard and get back on the right track,” said Horton. “It feels good.”
In his first season with Boston, after being traded in the offseason in a deal that sent Dennis Wideman to Florida (Wideman is now a Washington Capital), Horton has had his ups-and-downs, but remains one of Boston’s top-producing forwards.
His 22-26-48 totals put him fourth on the B’s in scoring, behind linemates Lucic and Krejci and center Patrice Bergeron
While the seven-year veteran has never seen playoff ice, last night’s atmosphere gave Horton a taste of what will be come puck drop of Game 1 of the 2011 NHL Playoffs.
“It definitely has picked up pace. It feels like it a little bit. It’s going to get like that even more,” he said. “Teams are pressing to be in a good playoff spot and every game means a lot to the teams.”