CHICAGO, IL - Right wing Nathan Horton left the ice during the first overtime of Game One on Wednesday night, and did not return to the bench for the rest of the game. He skated off the ice after a collision near the goal during a B's power play. Head Coach Claude Julien was not able to provide an update following the game, as the doctors had not finished Horton's evaluation.
With the Bruins and Blackhawks not practicing on Thursday following the 4-3 triple overtime game that ended in favor of the Hawks, Coach Julien addressed the media from the team's hotel in downtown Chicago.
Julien labeled Horton as "day-to-day."
If he's not ready to go for Game Two on Saturday, the Bruins' extra forward group that includes Jay Pandolfo, Carl Soderberg and Jordan Caron is ready to go. Kaspars Daugavins, part of that squad for most of the postseason, demonstrated that readiness when he was inserted into the lineup following Gregory Campbell's season-ending injury.
"We’ve worked everybody hard. Like I said, they've been pushed. They've done extra, forwards and D's included. There's nobody in that extra squad that isn't ready to step in right now," said Julien.
Horton assisted on Milan Lucic's opening goal of the Stanley Cup Final and currently leads the NHL with [an astonishing] plus-22 rating. In scoring, he sits second in the league below his centerman, David Krejci (23 points) with seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points in 17 games.
Having had a huge impact in the playoffs thus far, the Bruins are obviously hoping they get their power forward back for Saturday - but know they'll need to step up, regardless of who's in the lineup.
"If he’s in, he’s in and if not, somebody else has to step up. That's hockey, that's the way it is," said defenseman Andrew Ference, who saw the young D's stepping up when he was injured for the second round against the New York Rangers.
"There’s no question that he’s obviously important, hard-working. Guy just had a great playoffs," added fellow blueliner Adam McQuaid. "We’re pretty lucky that we have depth and guys that can move up and down the lineup and guys that can come in and fill roles. So, we’ll see how things go."
If Horton cannot go, there would likely be more line shifting. Tyler Seguin skated on the right wing alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic in the second and third overtimes, and could slot in for Game Two.
"Well he’s done it before. He’s obviously a player that can have a huge impact on a series. He can put the puck in the net," said Ference, when asked what Seguin would bring, should he end up playing on Krejci's line.
"He’s getting himself in the right spots and creating a lot of things. If you’re a defensemen on the other side you’re obviously aware of the danger that he presents. So if he can hop into there and find the back of the net then that's going to be a great thing for us."
With No. 18 out, that would also leave another shuffling of the "bottom six." Seguin has been skating with Rich Peverley and Kaspars Daugavins. Before Campbell's injury, he was playing with Peverley and Chris Kelly. The juggling is nothing new.
"We play with different guys and we have been throughout the course of the year," said Kelly. "So it’s not a huge adjustment."