Notes: Horton steps into spotlight

191545.jpg

Notes: Horton steps into spotlight

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Nathan Horton always has a smile on his face, kind words, and a polite thank-you for just about everyone he meets in life.

Theres been a little more of Game Face Horton as things got closer to the playoffs, but that was to expected from a guy who's working on his first NHL Stanley Cup playoff experience. Saturday nights Game 5 was one of the good nights for Horton, as he pounced on a rebound in front of the net and scored a greasy goal to power the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 double overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

I saw the rebound, we had control of the puck, and I saw the rebound come out. It was. It was like its in slow motion, said Horton. It was just sitting there. Ill tell you, it felt good to put that in the net. Obviously winning the game, it was a pretty special moment.

The play was unique, as both Andrew Ference and Milan Lucic were running something similar to a pick-and-roll near the blue line to keep possession of the puck in the Habs' zone. Ference finally fired a shot from the point though traffic and a David Krejci screen. Carey Price was able to get a pad on the puck, but he kicked the rebound right to Horton crashing in from the right side. Horton tapped it into the open side of the net.

The first line was better and that was a good sign," said coach Claude Julien. "Scoring that OT goal will hopefully give that line a real good boost. And we all know how when you start thinking positively, things start to be a lot easier. And I think they were carrying some weight from not producing and being one of the lines wanting to produce.

"But . . . now Horton knows what if feels like to score a game-winning, overtime goal in the playoffs and he was a pretty happy man in the dressing room.

Lucic picked up an assist on Hortons goal for his first point of the postseason, and also led the Bruins with a team-high eight shots on net. Lucic had previously only attempted five shots total in the first four games of the playoffs.

Lucic got a couple of excellent chances in close to the net.

"Well, I mean we were chipping away all game long, it seemed like," said Lucic. "And I dont know what it is . . . whenever I get a scoring chance it seems like its not going in. But . . . we didnt get frustrated and it was almost like when we had the opportunity in overtime we wanted to do whatever we could to step up and contribute to this team."

Boxer Micky Ward of Lowell, the subject of the movie "The Fighter," was in the crowd for Game 5 at TD Garden, along with former New England Revolution player Taylor Twellman.

The Bruins and Canadiens played their first scoreless first period of the series, Boston also came up with the first home victory of the series.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Eriksson named Lady Byng finalist for second time

bruins_loui_eriksson_122314.jpg

Eriksson named Lady Byng finalist for second time

Patrice Bergeron will have some Bruins company at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas at the end of the month of June.

Loui Eriksson was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy on Saturday afternoon along with Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Florida Panthers pivot Aleksander Barkov. It’s the second time in his career that Eriksson will be named a finalist for the award given annually "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."

The Swedish winger finished his best season in a Bruins uniform with 30 goals (third on team) and 33 assists for the second most points (63) on the team along with 12 total penalty minutes through 82 games played. Eriksson was excited to once again be a finalist for the award, and to be lumped in with a couple of the NHL’s best players in Kopitar and Barkov.

“It is a great honor to be considered for the Lady Byng Trophy, an award that has been won by some of the best players of all time,” said Eriksson, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1 after three seasons in Boston. “There are many deserving candidates so to be named one of the finalists with Anze Kopitar and Aleksander Barkov is very exciting for me. Thank you to my teammates and the coaching staff and I appreciate all those who voted.”

The last Bruin to win the Lady Byng Trophy was Rick Middleton back in 1981-82, and Eriksson is the first B’s finalist for Lady Byng in more than 10 years.

Bruins will select 14th overall in first round

bruins-sweeney.jpg

Bruins will select 14th overall in first round

The Boston Bruins basically had a three percent of moving up into the top three of the NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday night, but they didn’t strike it draft rich when it was all said and done up in Toronto.

With Bruins general manager Don Sweeney in attendance representing the Original Six franchise, the Black and Gold were the first team logo selected in the draft lottery meaning they will own the 14th overall pick in the first round for the second straight summer.

Instead the Toronto Maple Leafs will select first overall after putting together the worst record in the NHL last season, and the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets won the lottery to move up into the second and third slots in the draft.

This marks the sixth time in franchise history that the club has owned the 14th overall selection in the NHL Draft. The Bruins drafted Jake DeBrusk 14th overall last summer in Florida at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Stephane Quintal 14th overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, Normand Leveille 14th overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, Douglas Halward 14th overall in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft and Terry O’Reilly 14th overall in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft.

Based on finishing with the highest point total of all non-playoff teams for the second straight season, the Bruins owned a 1.0% chance of winning the 2016 Draft Lottery overall and a 3.4% chance of securing a top-three pick.

The 2016 NHL Draft will take place on June 24-25 at the First Niagara Center home of the Sabres in Buffalo just a couple of months from now, and the Bruins also own the first round pick of the San Jose Sharks that will end up somewhere in the 20’s based on the fact they’re still currently alive in the playoffs.

Saturday, April 30: Preparing for the lottery

cp-morning-skate.jpg

Saturday, April 30: Preparing for the lottery

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating Greek Easter this weekend by way of my in-laws. Christos Anesti.  

*Pro Hockey Talk writer James O’Brien has everything you need to know about tonight’s NHL Draft Lottery.

*Brent Burns is recognized as a Norris Trophy finalist after his best season as a member of the San Jose Sharks. For the record, the top three of Drew Doughty, Burns and Erik Karlsson were also the top three votes on my awards ballot, and exactly in that order.

*Puck Daddy eulogizes the Anaheim Ducks, who lost in the first round and promptly got their head coach fired.

*Speaking of the Ducks and a great man and good coach in Bruce Boudreau, who is now out of work, Anaheim GM Bob Murray is now getting ready to round up the candidates for a new coach.

*Spector has a number of hockey rumors, including what’s expected for offseason changes for the Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks now that they’re on the golf course.

*If the Edmonton Oilers win the draft lottery again, two things will happen: a lot of people will be angry, and Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will have a lot of options at his disposal.

*Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk bring the Stanley Cup pedigree to an Islanders team that’s voyaging deep into the playoffs.

*For something completely different: Kevin Faulk gets mad props for wearing the Tom Brady jersey to the NFL podium to help announce New England’s draft picks.