There were two pressing questions on the minds of Bruins fans following Boston’s rousing 4-3 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 4 at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night.
One was if Nathan Horton was physically okay after Dion Phaneuf got the jump on Boston’s right winger in the defensive zone, and opened things up for David Krejci to score the game-winner more than 13 minutes into the extra session. The second query was about who was wearing the Army Ranger jacket in the Bruins dressing room signifying the player of the game.
Horton deemed himself fit physically on Friday afternoon at TD Garden, and it was the big winger wearing the Army Ranger jacket after taking a bit hit to help make a game-winning play at the other end of the ice.
“That winning goal was one of those where you’ve got one eye looking at that outnumbered situation, the other eye looking at if your other guys is going to be getting up. It’s a little bit of both,” said Claude Julien of Horton, who has six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in four playoff games with a plus-7. “But when that goal was scored the first thing I did was really look if Nathan was still on the ice, or if he was up. He’s fine. It was a bit of body blow from an aggressive fore-check on [Dion] Phaneuf’s part, and it ended up playing in our favor.”
It’s easy to point Krejci as the player deserving of glory after collecting the hat trick against the Leafs, but Boston Bruins hockey has always been about taking a hit to make a play.
After several video reviews of the play, however, it appears that Phaneuf missed on an attempt at a big hit on Horton, and certainly never came into contact with a forward that’s battled concussions over the last few years.
Horton simply took a hit to make a play on Wednesday night, and that’s why the B’s have built a pattern of winning over the last six years.