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Horton says he's fine after Phaneuf hit in Game 4

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- At first it looked like the Boston Bruins might've paid a steeper price than they wanted to in order to win Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

However, Bruins forward Nathan Horton was able to skate off the ice under his own power while David Krejci beat the Maple Leafs with a goal in overtime that put the Bruins ahead in the best-of-7 series, 3-1, heading into Game 5 on Friday at TD Garden (7 p.m. NHLN-US, CBC, RDS).

Horton was as jovial as usual Thursday morning after reporting to the Garden for an optional practice he and the rest of the Bruins' regulars passed on.

"I feel good," Horton said. "It's obviously a big win for us. I think everybody feels good today. But we know the job's not done. The last one's always the hardest."

After a Phil Kessel giveaway, Horton took a hit from Dion Phaneuf while chipping the puck ahead to Krejci, who dashed down the ice for the winning 2-on-1. Horton was down on the ice and his stick went flying.

The contact looked to be leg against leg.

"I knew he was coming," Horton said of Phaneuf. "I tried to get myself around him, too, when I chipped the puck, and obviously he took me out and I couldn't get around him. But it worked out well because Dave got it."

Bruins coach Claude Julien said, "That winning goal, that was one of those where you've got one eye looking at that outnumbered situation. Your other eye looking at if your other guy is going to be getting up. So it's a little bit of both. But when that goal was scored, the first thing I did was look if Nathan was still on the ice or if he was up. He's fine. It was a bit of a body blow from an aggressive forecheck on Phaneuf's part, and it ended playing in our favor."

The Bruins are relatively healthy heading into Game 5. Chris Kelly took stitches for a gash caused by a high stick, and Milan Lucic had to do the same after he took a puck to the face. Rich Peverley was cut by a high stick but did not require stitches.

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