Slumping Horton: Lots of work, not much luck

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Slumping Horton: Lots of work, not much luck

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON -- Nathan Horton hasn't scored since Jan. 3. Before that, he hadn't scored since Dec. 11.

In case you don't have your schedule in front of you, that's one goal in his last 17 games.

And it's not as if the scoring chances aren't there. Horton's had plenty, especially since Marc Savard's play has improved by the game. That was no more evident than on Thursday night, as Savard set Horton up for a breakaway in the opening minutes of the Bruins' 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Horton came in all alone on Ryan Miller, after receiving a pretty bank pass off the left boards from Savard.

A confident Horton would have tried to pick a corner with a snap shot. Instead, the struggling Horton -- who admitted to possibly thinking too much -- decided to fake a shot and deke left, only to be stopped by Miller's extended right pad.

Horton didn't talk to the media after the game, but did answer questions about his scoring drought after practice on Friday at Ristuccia Arena.

"I've had a lot of chances, and it's just not going in," said Horton. "It's definitely frustrating, but there's nothing I can do except keep working hard. I made a couple mistakes there last game, and it's my bad. I take responsibility for that. It's my fault. Just try to cut back on those, and hopefully start producing.

"There's nothing else to do, other than just keep working hard," he said. "They're eventually going to go in, I think. I've never been like this before, but I've never worked this hard either, so maybe I'm working too hard. Just kind of relax and let it come. Just try to have some fun out there."

Horton has 12 goals this season. Before being traded to Boston from Florida this past offseason, the 25-year-old winger had his fair share of critics, who claimed he disappeared at times during the regular season.

Some thought those disappearing acts would go away once he was traded to a contender. And while, right now, pucks aren't going in for him, Horton was adamant that this type of disappearing was for a different reason:

The effort is there, but the luck isn't.

"I am getting chances, and I am trying," said Horton. "They're just not going in. It would be nice to get some luck, and get a bounce, but it just hasn't been that way. I've just got to look ahead and look towards the next one. Hopefully it does go in, and it would be nice to just get it out of the way."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

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McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

BRIGHTON, Mass -- It hasn’t been an easy road for Bruins rookie goaltender Zane McIntyre since getting called back up by Boston a few weeks ago.

The 24-year-old netminder is trying to give the B’s top-level goaltending while earning the trust of the Bruins coaching staff, and adjusting to the sporadic playing time that goes along with playing understudy to a No. 1 netminder like Tuukka Rask. The three goals allowed in the third period of Sunday afternoon’s 5-1 loss to the Penguins didn’t look good on paper, but really there wasn’t much McIntyre could do with the defense totally breaking down in front of him during a 12-shot barrage in the final 20 minutes.

The 3.95 goals against average and .860 save percentage certainly look like a little frightening for the first-year goalie, but the truth is there’s going to be some bumps as he adjusts to life as a backup for the first time.

“[The adjustment] is mostly between the ears, to be honest,” said McIntyre. “I have confidence in my physical abilities and I know what I can do, and what makes my game successful. So right now it’s just building confidence every day in practice and staying persistent, staying with it. I know good things are going to happen when you surround yourself with good people, and the biggest thing is battling every day and making sure I’m contributing to the team.”

McIntyre will certainly have to be sharp if he’s put back in the crease on Tuesday night against the Red Wings after Rask exited from Sunday’s loss in the second period with symptoms of a migraine. The Bruins top goalie missed practice on Monday while getting himself checked out medically, and there’s a chance he could be out if the symptoms are in any way related to the Roman Josi shot he took off his neck last week.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day to be honest. That’s what I’ve always done in the past, and I’m just trying to build up confidence every day,” said McIntyre, who had been lights out in Providence prior to getting the call to Boston. “We’ll just see what happens and roll with it.”

That’s a challenge McIntyre will certainly be up for in a different way than Sunday’s mop-up duty, but it remains to be seen just how steady-footed the Bruins will be about their goalie situation if Rask is expected to miss any time this week.