TAMPA Nathan Horton thinks that maybe sometimes the expectations for him get a little out of control.
After all, the right wing is tied with Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand for the second-highest number of goals on the Bruins, and he feels like hes always skating hard and hustling. But that didnt stop Hortons coach from calling him out after an invisible performance against the Florida Panthers, and imploring that the Bruins need more out of him.
Perhaps Claude Julien has a future in motivational speaking along the lines of Matt Foley because Horton responded to the pointed remarks with a pair of goals in Bostons 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Both scores came from Horton attacking the area around the net. The first was simple tenacity going toward the net following his own shot, and the second was a sniper shot from the high slot area after tracking down an Andrew Ference shot blocked by defenders.
The winger said after the game he wasnt inspired by his coachs challenge, and instead it was about supporting his teammates in a time of need. With Rich Peverley and Brad Marchand out of commission the Bs needed some ascension to Hortons game, and they got it. His team-high six shots on net showed a commitment to creating much more offense than the three total shots attempted in the previous three games.
The two goals were red light proof of that, but dont ever confuse Horton with Wayne Gretzky.
Julien is the coach and he can say whatever he wants. I dont want to comment on that, said Horton. Im here for my teammates and obviously I want to be good for them. I think thats all that matters. I just want to keep working hard and things are going to come.
I definitely need to get shots on net more. Im not Wayne Gretzky. Sometimes people think I am. I want to do the best I can and Im out there trying. Whether its back-checking or just working hard I just always want to be myself. I do need to get my shots off and get more than one or two . . . thats something I need to work on.
While Hortons coach was happy with his forwards offensive exploits, the line of Horton along with David Krejci and Milan Lucic have given up five goals to the opposition over the last two games. Thats a losing balance their line needs to rectify.
Work around the net is his strength. Hes one of those guys that when he takes it to the net hes a big strong guy, he stays on the puck and hes going to score some goals, said Julien. He gave us some good offense, but its unfortunate in a way because their line gave up three tonight. Theyve been on for five goals in the last two games and were certainly looking for more out of that line.