By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Nathan Horton is officially back to normal.
The powerfully skilled right winger got off to a slow start during the preseason as the Bruins exhibited some patience with a player who saw his season end due to a concussion last spring in the Cup Finals. Horton was given extra time to work himself into game shape, and that patience appears to have paid off. The No. 1 line winger assisted on Milan Lucics power-play goal in their 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden in their home preseason finale Thursday night, and it was a thing of beauty.
After Zdeno Chara had softened up the Ottawa penalty kill with a pair of big blasts from the point, Horton deftly feathered a pinpoint pass from behind the net toward Lucic waiting all alone in front. Lucic roofed a shot over Sens goalie Craig Anderson to put the Bruins on the board.
While the outcome didnt go the Bs way, Horton showed the same kind of fire that defined his stretch run during last years regular season and the playoffs that followed it. He was a little mean and plenty physical, and his level of offensive scoring seemed to coincide with the attitude flashed during any given game.
It was also a sign that Horton was healthy and feeling good and hes showed that feistiness in each of his two preseason appearances. He nearly decked the Habs' Andrei Yemelin during a skirmish in front of the net during the game in Halifax, and he quickly came to the defense of David Krejci Thursday night against the Senators.
There was no babying himself over concerns about concussions, and no signs Horton is worried about anything physically.
It's good to see. It's good to see him test out his competitiveness and that he's having no symptoms from that hit last year, said Lucic, his partner in crime on the Bs top scoring line. That's the way he plays. That pass, it's the exact same one as I got in Game Four against Philly last year. It was a great pass, right on the tape and I had an open net to shoot at because of a nice play by him and David Krejci.
The Bruins have witnessed so many worse case scenarios when it comes to concussions and their common complications, but theres been nothing but clear evidence that Horton has avoided all that entering a big second year with the Bruins.