Slumping Horton: Lots of work, not much luck


Slumping Horton: Lots of work, not much luck

By Danny Picard

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

Bergeron 'feeling good' in return, plays role of third period hero

Bergeron 'feeling good' in return, plays role of third period hero

BOSTON – It certainly feels appropriate that Patrice Bergeron would author a clutch game-winning goal late in the third period of his first game back after missing a week of games with a lower body injury. That Bergeron’s game-winner also arrived in the home opener at TD Garden was an added bonus once No. 37 hammered a shot from the high slot with 1:15 to go in the third period to give the Bruins their first lead of the game in a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden.

The goal arrived courtesy of a nifty setup from linemate Brad Marchand working behind the New Jersey net, and also thanks to David Pastrnak winning a battle in the corner thanks to newfound grit in his game. But the hero of the day again turned out to be No. 37, who went from missing an entire week of action to reclaiming his center role on the top line, playing 16:49 of ice time and winning 13-of-24 face-offs while generating five shot attempts.

“I think it’s pretty obvious with what he did [against the Devils]. After being off for over a week and to come back and have one practice with us then back into the game, he scores a clutch goal for us. That’s what he has always been, a clutch player for us,” said Claude Julien. “I think the third period we gave it a really good push there and I like seeing that from our team that you come out and you don’t play on your heels and you push hard and we went down by a goal but we got our game going like I said and we got a couple goals to win this for us.”

Bergeron modestly said postgame that he was just trying to get into the flow of the game after missing a healthy chunk of time with injury. But he certainly looked like he was vintage form once it crunch time. The timing was perfect as he stepped into the one-timer shot off Marchand’s pass, and beat Cory Schneider amid a strong 34-save performance by the kid from Marblehead.

“I mean I was just trying to, I guess, get my feet wet right away and use the first few shifts to kind of just get, feel good about my positioning and my skating,” said Bergeron. “As the game went on I just felt better. Of course you want to start on a good note, especially at home, and we talked about our home record in the last few years. We wanted to do the job early, especially in the first game, and it’s one step but we’re happy with it.”

It was like Bergeron didn’t miss a single beat after missing the first three games of the season with a lower body injury, and those kinds of instincts and natural ability are things worth marveling about when it comes to the Bruins.

“I was feeling good [on the ice],” said Bergeron. “It would have been nice to ride the wave of the World Cup, but that being said I thought in the first I was trying to be good position ally and kind of get myself going with the first few shifts, and just kind of go from there. Overall I thought that happened.”

While the comeback win was certainly good news for the Bruins, the best news of all is that Bergeron has returned to the lineup with no signs of an injury that surprised everybody right before the start of the regular season.