Horton has career night with store-bought stick

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Horton has career night with store-bought stick

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Nathan Horton has officially re-invented the phrase "whatever it takes."

Mired in a 20-game slump in which he scored only one goal, the Bruins' top-line winger needed to do something drastic in order to start putting pucks in the net once again.

During the All-Star break, Horton walked into a local New-England area sports store, and purchased several brand-new Easton sticks. He told store managers that he was buying them for a friend.

He lied. But, hey, whatever it takes.

Entering Wednesday night's game against the Montreal Canadiens, Horton had a goal and an assist in his last three games since returning from the All-Star break. He continued his resurgence with an exclamation point against the rival Habs on Wednesday, putting up a career-high five points on a goal and four assists, while leading the Bruins to a wild 8-6 win.

Afterwards, Horton revealed information on his new, self-purchased weapon of choice, which still has the price tag on it.

"I used a different stick tonight, maybe that was it," said Horton with a smile.

Maybe. And if he wants to keep telling himself that that's the reason for his success, the Bruins will let him do just that.

But Horton played with a certain type of fire on Wednesday night, a certain type of confidence, that he hadn't shown much of in the previous 23 games, in which he only had two goals and five assists.

It was his always-visible fire and physicality against the Canadiens that made him look faster, stronger, and much more confident than he's looked all season long.

"That's what we wanted from him for a while now," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the win. "It happened tonight. We're certainly happy with that. Now, it's a matter of, hopefully, him continuing to do that for our team. He was a big help for us."

Horton finished the game with six shots on net, and two of his four assists came off easy rebounds, thanks to his relentless shooting approach on Wednesday night. Dennis Seidenberg and Milan Lucic each took advantage of a juicy rebound that followed hard shots on goal from Horton and his new twig.

He also scored one himself, with 5:06 left in the third period, after he took a pass at the blue line from David Krejci, skated hard into the right circle, and sniped the top-left corner with the type of snap shot from the slot that tempted the Bruins to acquire him in the offseason.

It gave the Bruins an 8-5 lead and put the game out of reach. But more importantly, it was the icing on the cake for Horton's confident-booster filled night.

"It's nice," said Horton on his 14th goal of the season. "But it's even nicer to have the win, and have guys in the room nice and happy."

"It seemed like he was getting really hard on himself, that he was getting down on himself, but the last couple of games you could see he's starting to find his game again, and it's all starting with him skating the way he can skate, using his speed and his body, and winning those puck battles," said Lucic. "He had a big night tonight, and hopefully he continues with that confidence."

And if buying his own sticks makes that confidence stick, nobody will be holding Horton back from another trip to the local hockey shop.

"He didn't just buy one, he bought a couple," said Lucic. "He went and bought five or six sticks in a sports store. He's doing whatever he can to get himself going again. Whatever it takes."

Indeed.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on hisstreaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Wednesday, June 29: B's not in Stamkos sweepstakes?

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Wednesday, June 29: B's not in Stamkos sweepstakes?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while laughing out loud at the mental image of Bill Lee rolling joints for Peter Gammons.

-- Dion Phaneuf says he’ll be at the Stanley Cup Day for Phil Kessel even though he’s still waiting for his own playoff glory.

-- Former NHL player Bryan Berard, who was defrauded out of much of his hockey earnings by his former financial advisors, is speaking out so other players don't make the same mistake.

-- Bob McKenzie appears on Vancouver radio and never mentions the Bruins as one of the teams that might be in the running for Steven Stamkos.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle sits down with Brendan Shanahan to discuss Shanahan's plan to fix the Maple Leafs.

-- In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my hit with Toucher and Rich this morning about a possible Bruins' offer sheet for Jacob Trouba.

-- Player agent Allan Walsh thinks that the interview period prior to July 1 is a terrible thing.

-- The Florida Panthers hire Roberto Luongo’s younger brother Leo to be their AHL team’s goalie coach.

-- Kudos to the NHL and their Hockey is for Everyone campaign for bringing the beautiful game of hockey to inner-city youth.

-- You may need Google Translate for this, but it looks like Dale Weise has played his last game for the Montreal Canadiens.

-- For something completely different: As mentioned above, this Bill Lee interview with Toucher and Rich is a phantasmagorical experience.