Horton pots third game-winner of playoffs

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Horton pots third game-winner of playoffs

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Nathan Horton has played in the warm weather before. Hesjust never done it in late May.

And in case you werent counting, thats now threegame-winning goals in his first Stanley Cup playoff experience.

It was 80 degrees in Boston on Friday afternoon, and Friday night marked his third game-winner -- his eighth goalof the postseason -- as he finished a perfect pass from David Krejci with7:33 left in the third period. It broke a scoreless game, and proved to be thedifference-maker in sending the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals for the firsttime since 1990.

Horton, who was traded to Boston from Florida in theoffseason, has answered any and all questions as to whether or not he wouldface playoff jitters in his first go-around.

If he didnt get the message across with two overtimegame-winners in Games 5 and 7 of the Bruins first-round series with theCanadiens, he pounded it home once again in Game 7 of the Eastern ConferenceFinals, as the Bs defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0.

Its been a long road, said Horton after the win. A lotof hard work, a lot of days at the rink. But it makes it nice when youre atthe rink with a great organization.

I played a long time without being in the playoffs. Itsbeen a long road to get there, and I realize thats its not easy, and yourenot going to get this opportunity every time, so youve got to make the best ofit.

Horton put his stick on the ice and burst past a group offlat-footed Tampa Bay defensemen, as Krejci took the puck over the blue lineand down into the lower-left circle. Krejci turned and slowed the play down,and found Horton going hard to the right post.

The result was a goal, and what turned out to be another game-winnerfor Horton.

It feels good, said Horton. We only got one goal, andthats all we needed tonight.

I saw Krejci and he had a lot of speed, and hes got thepuck and they were flat footed, he said. I had some speed too, so I justtried to get to the net, get him some space, and he gave me a great pass.

For his first playoffs, hes been unbelievable, saidveteran Mark Recchi after the win. Not only with goals, but hes battled. Hesbattled hard, hes competed hard every night. Hes been a complete warrior, andhes been a heck of a player for us. Hes led the way, competitive-wise, andits great."

His competitiveness got him back on the ice in the secondperiod after he went to the dressing room in the first period, following a hithe took from Blair Jones.

Horton described it as just a little bump and returned tobe the hero.

We knew hed be back, said Recchi with a laugh. Hesfine. Hes a competitive guy.

Every series, it just keeps getting harder to explain howgood that feeling is, said Horton.

Im excited to be here. It feels good, and it keeps gettingbetter. Its definitely nice to score a game-winner, and just be a contributingplayer to help our team win. It feels pretty good.

Danny Picard is onTwitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Marchand: 'No place I'd rather play' than Boston

Marchand: 'No place I'd rather play' than Boston

The Bruins made it official on Monday -- mere minutes after the news had broken -- as they clearly couldn’t wait to announce an eight year, $49 million contract extension for Brad Marchand. who is finishing up his Team Canada gig at the World Cup of Hockey.

PROFILE: Joe Haggerty's preseason look at Brad Marchand

The deal averages $6.125 million per season, broken up between actual salary and signing bonus money. The Bruins were most definitely given a hometown discount by an elite player who snapped home a career-high 37 goals and 60 points last season, the most goals scored by a Bruins player since Glenn Murray in 2002-03. And everybody knows goal scorers get paid in the NHL, even if Marchand won’t be expected to score quite that many every year.

Marchand, 28, has also been the second-leading scorer in the entire World Cup of Hockey tournament, behind only Sidney Crosby, and continues to raise his profile in the NHL world beyond his customary agitator role. The “Nose Face Killah” could have waited for until free agency if he'd wanted to pick up every last nickel on the table, but it’s very clear he’s invested in the team that drafted and developed him, and with which he won a Cup five years ago.

"This is an extremely exciting day for me and my family," said Marchand, who now has a full no-move clause for the first five years of his next contract. "I would like to thank the Jacobs family, [president] Cam Neely, [general manager] Don Sweeney, [coach] Claude Julien, the coaching staff, my teammates and our fans for their continued support and belief in me. I have been a Bruin since the start of my pro career and there is no place I would rather play. I look forward to doing everything I can to help our team achieve success and bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston."

Marchand has been among the team’s leading scorers since joining the league in 2010-11, has been the NHL’s most dangerous penalty killer over the last five years, and pairs with Patrice Bergeron to anchor the top line. He’s also become much more of a leader in the last few seasons as other character veterans have been peeled away from the core group, and a hometown discount proves it one of the most meaningful ways possible.

It was clear Marchand was invested in the Bruins when he helped recruit free agent David Backes with phone calls this summer, and he was also present for the recruiting pitch to Jimmy Vesey at Warrior Ice Arena last month.

The Bruins players at training camp were happy to hear No. 63 was going to be in Boston for the long haul.

“Marchy is Marchy. I think everybody kind of knows what that means,” said Kevan Miller. “He’s been great for our organization and great for the fans and for this city. He’s been all in since Day One, and he’s been a guy that I looked up to.”

While the Bruins have confirmed the contract, Sweeney won't weigh in until later today. But one would expect there will be an appreciation for the skill of the player, and Marchand’s commitment to the organization after accepting less than he could have gotten on the open market.

Monday, Sept. 26: So what happens if Canada loses World Cup final?

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Monday, Sept. 26: So what happens if Canada loses World Cup final?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while finding it hard to believe that it’s game day for the Boston Bruins. Summer is officially O-V-A.
 
-- The Montreal media is starting to get on board with this tougher, grittier version of the Habs, along with a healthy Carey Price.
 
-- Pierre McGuire sits in with Ottawa’s TSN sports radio station and talks Team Europe in the World Cup, as well as a number of other things.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Zeisberger is already openly wondering what would happen in Canada if they lose to Team Europe in the best-of-three final to the World Cup.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski asks Brad Marchand if a part of him has thought about playing with Sidney Crosby on the Penguins if he hits free agency. Bells, alarms and whistles should be going off on Causeway Street to give No. 63 whatever he wants at this point. In case you missed it, I talked about the danger of Crosby trying to woo his Nova Scotian buddy to Pittsburgh last week.
 
-- PHT writer James O’Brien says it sounds like the St. Louis Blues are going to play a more aggressive brand of hockey this season.
 
-- For something completely different: Forbes Magazine says Pete Carroll, not Bill Belichick, should be considered the NFL’s foremost cheater.