Nathan Horton may not wear a C or A for the Boston Bruins–and that’s okay–but he is still very important to the fabric and success of the team. For example, consider how the team struggled mightily at the end of last season after he went down with his second concussion.
Their goals per game plummeted and they put together an entirely forgettable month of February (eight losses out of 13 games, including that ignominious 6-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres) before finally turning things around a bit in March. Horton tried to come back for the playoffs, but it wasn’t in the cards, so he got a chance for extended rest and recuperation during the lockout. That’s perhaps the only good thing to come out of the lockout–it gave injured players like Horton and Marian Hossa more time to rest and focus on getting back in game shape.
It worked–number 18 is back and doing what he does best: scoring, assisting and strengthening the team around him.
Look at Horton’s production so far in this season, which is admittedly still in its infancy: a late third-period goal against the New York Rangers that got the Bruins a ticket to overtime, an assist on Zdeno Chara‘s first goal of the season two days later, a goal that gave the Bruins a brief 3-1 lead over the Carolina Hurricanes, and a late third-period goal against the New Jersey Devils. He has a four-game point streak and is currently tied with Chara for five points on the season, second only to David Krejci‘s six.
He also gives it the old college try: he has 17 shots on goal to his name, just two fewer than team leader Patrice Bergeron. This has worked out well for him three times, giving him the team lead for goals.
Coach Claude Julien called him a machine and said he hasn’t missed a beat since sitting out nearly an entire calendar year due to injury and lockout. He added that Horton inspires the team, which Tyler Seguin confirmed.
Bruins fans are excited to have Horton back in the lineup. It wasn’t the same without him and everyone knew it. Now that he’s back, here’s to even more success–and timely goals–from number 18.