Bruins

Horton: 'I want to get better and I want to score'

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Horton: 'I want to get better and I want to score'

NEWARK Now that the month of December is over, perhaps Nathan Horton can get on with the rest of his season.

In two seasons with the Bruins, he has suffered offensive outages around the holiday season that are eerily familiar. Last year Horton managed only six points (3 goals and 3 assists) in 14 games during December, and this year the Bs right winger scored the exact same breakdown of six points (3 goals and 3 assists) during the month of December.

Im not scoring every night, but I want to get better and I want to score. I am fighting it a little bit, said Horton. This happens during the year. Its a long year, but the thing is that were winning games. If one or two lines arent going then the other two are this year, and thats the way things are going.

With the month now officially over, Horton busted out with a power play goal that also wound up as the winning score in Bostons 6-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

It was little more than a tap-in after David Krejci feathered a pass across the front of the net to Horton waiting by the left post, but thats the kind of goal that could set Horton off on a goal-scoring spree.

It feels good to score. Its nice when you have four lines going so when things are going well for you one game then other lines stepped up, said Horton. I think our line played pretty well, played hard, worked to get the puck and created chances.

We wanted to come out hard, play strong and we knew this was a big, physical team. We just want to keep it going.

One thing the Bruins would like to see more of that could set Horton on his way: a greater degree of offensive assertiveness with more shots fired on the net.

Horton managed only one goal in his last seven games headed into Wednesday nights romp over the Devils, and during that time hed managed a measly seven shots on net. For a player with the powerful size and skill package like Hortons, thats just not nearly enough offensive impact.

He scored a goal, but I still think hes a player capable of giving more. Physically I think he needs to be a little more involved and if he does that it will help his game. Its got to start coming from him, said Claude Julien. Hes still not a bad player. He scores a goal and he puts himself into some good situations, but Id like to see him shoot the puck more.

Hes a great shooter, but he seems to be looking pass more than shooting the puck right now. Its going to come and were going to make sure it comes for him.

He still managed only the one successful shot against the Devils for a power play goal, but the hope is that gets the right winger moving on the right track.

Horton is on pace for 23 goals and 52 points this season, and thats a little bit less than the Bruins were hoping for after watching him become a Game 7 hero against the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning last year. Perhaps the Vancouver Canucks game on Saturday can bring out Hortons physical game after his season ended with a concussion caused by an egregious head shot in the Cup Finals.

But Horton said the first game back against the Canucks since last years concussion didnt mean any more to him, and that was especially true with Aaron Rome looking like hell miss the contest with a wrist injury.

Not really. I dont even think Rome will be playing against us. Its obviously big for us to be playing them for the first time since the Finals, and it will definitely be a big game, said Horton. But other than that itll just be a big game to show that we can beat them again. Theyre a good team.

Perhaps a budding rivalry with a good team like the Canucks is exactly what the doctor ordered for Horton.

Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

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Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the return of Adolfo to Toucher and Rich this morning.

*Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid have received plenty of acclaim over the past couple of years as talented, young stars in the league, but Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien details how things haven’t gone ideally for either of those youngsters, or their teams, this season. Clearly, it’s not at this level yet, but just think about the hype behind Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin when they were drafted 1-2 back in 2010, and what they have, and haven’t, been able to accomplish in the league since that time.

*Outstanding rookie Brock Boeser credits a conversation with Vancouver Canucks coach Travis Green for helping spark his game this season.

*Good video piece on the near miss of Wayne Gretzky almost playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs after dominating them in the playoffs.  

*Salivating for some hockey trades? The 10 potential NHL trade deadline targets around the league as we wait for players to become available for trade later in the season.  

*Hockeybuzz is asking what the NHL, and more specifically the Hockey Hall of Fame, has against goaltenders?

*For something completely different: A great piece from Drew Bledsoe on the tragic passing of former Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn, and how his death came just as he seemed to be putting all the pieces of his life together.

 

Marchand, Krug and Backes all practice, won't play vs. Devils

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Marchand, Krug and Backes all practice, won't play vs. Devils

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins are getting closer to a healthier lineup, but it won’t be in time for the Thanksgiving Eve road tilt against the upstart New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

Brad Marchand (upper body), Torey Krug (upper body) and David Backes (colon surgery) all skated in red no-contact jerseys at practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena, so none of those three banged-up B’s will be making the trip to Jersey. Anders Bjork (upper body) didn’t practice and is obviously out vs. the Devils as well, but Ryan Spooner might be a possibility after making it through his first full practice since tearing his groin almost six weeks ago.

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If he can make it through Wednesday's morning skate without any problems, Spooner will likely be a game-time decision against the Devils after missing the past 14 games.  

The Bruins have continued to indicate that Marchand is in the concussion protocol, though it appears the Bruins agitator is dealing with both upper body and lower body issues. Marchand was encouraged by the progress he’s making while returning to practice, so perhaps the B’s could get back one of their leading scorers sooner rather than later.

“I feel pretty good. It’s good to be back with the guys and feel like you’re a part of the team,” said Marchand, who has missed five of the past seven games after returning for the home-and-home against the Maple Leafs. “It’s frustrating whenever you miss games and you miss time away from the team, but they had a great road trip and they’re playing well. It would be nice to be back in the lineup consistently and be back with the team...it’ll come.”

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Devils based on practice Tuesday:

Heinen-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Cehlarik

Vatrano-Spooner-Nash/Szwarz

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

Beleskey-Marchand-Backes

 
Chara-McAvoy

O’Gara/Postma-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Miller

 
Rask

Khudobin