Horton adjusting to playoff intensity
Nathan Horton had to wait seven seasons before playing in his first NHL playoff game, so waiting three games for his first postseason goal shouldn't have been too tough.
It wouldn't have been if the Bruins had managed to win either of those first two games. Losing both made it a little tougher to take, but Horton ended both droughts by getting his first playoff goal in his first playoff win as the Bruins took a 4-2 victory in Montreal on Monday.
Horton's goal didn't come exactly the way most envision such a milestone marker, but he does at least get points for creativity. The tally came with Horton below the goal line, as he banked in a shot off the back of Habs goalie Carey Price and just over the line for a 2-0 lead at 14:38 of the first period.
"No I didn't, but I'll definitely take it," Horton said when asked if that was how he expected to get his first playoff goal while checking out the facilities at the U.S. Olympic Center in Lake Placid on Tuesday. "Every goal is a big goal. It's exciting when you're helping your team like that. Hopefully we can get a couple more. It doesn't matter who scores as long as we win."
Horton has been anxious to see his first playoff action since coming to Boston in a trade with Florida last summer, and so far the experience has lived up to his expectations.
"I'm enjoying it," said Horton, who had 26-27-53 totals and was a plus-29 in 80 games in his first season with the Bruins. "It's fun. It's fun to be in this spot and hopefully things keep getting better."
Horton did say that there have been some surprises in the nature of postseason play, even after getting plenty of advice from his teammates.
"You kind of think you know what to expect, but it's a lot different when you get there," Horton said. "It's a lot tougher game, that's for sure. I think the big thing is to try to relax, play your game and not think too much."
Horton and the Bruins will get a chance to relax for a couple days as they have escaped the media circus in Montreal with a trip to Lake Placid, where they will work out before returning to the Bell Centre for Game 4 on Thursday.
In the meantime, at least one of the players who had offered Horton some advice on what to expect in the playoffs has been impressed with the way he's handled the situation.
"He's done well," linemate Milan Lucic said. "I think his game's gotten better as the series has gone on. I told him before, you've just got to go in and enjoy it. It's the time of year where you need t go out there and enjoy the experience. It's a first-time experience for him and I think it's a bit of a weight off his shoulders to be able to get his first playoff goal. I think we felt we were more able to play our game last game. We want to do whatever we can to be better in Game 4."