Pressure on Seguin if Horton is out

Pressure on Seguin if Horton is out
June 14, 2013, 12:45 am
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CHICAGO – So, with Nathan Horton officially in a day-to-day situation with a shoulder injury he’s been fighting through since April, what will the Bruins do if No. 18 can’t answer the bell for Game 2 and beyond?

It would appear that Jordan Caron would be the lead candidate to take Horton’s actual roster spot, with Carl Soderberg and Jay Pandolfo also possibilities while skating with the Black Aces. The forward depth would begin getting challenged in a big way with both Horton and Gregory Campbell potentially out of the lineup, but more importantly Horton’s offense on the Milan Lucic/David Krejci/Horton line would be greatly missed.

“He’s definitely a big part of our team. I don’t know what’s going on, so hopefully he’s fine,” said Patrice Bergeron. “The depth is something that we’ve had for the last couple of years. The depth of our team has always helped us in those [injury] situations.”

The one player that will be required to elevate his game if Horton does miss some time: Tyler Seguin. The 21-year-old forward has just one goal in 17 playoff games, but he did notch an assist on Bergeron’s power-play score in the third period prior to things slipping away from Boston.

Seguin would slide right into the spot alongside Krejci and Lucic, and would clearly add more speed and pure skill to the forward line. But that couldn’t possibly trump the lose of size, strength, power and clutch abilities of a guy in Horton who has seven goals, 18 points and an NHL-best plus-22 in the postseason. The productive power of the Krejci line is the  biggest reason the Bruins are in the Stanley Cup Finals, and breaking them up, voluntarily or not, would be a big blow to the Black and Gold.

Still, the Bruins would have to hope that a move to a top-six forward spot with talented offensive linemates would spark Seguin from his scoring woes.

“He’s been skating well. To me right now, the only thing he needs to do is to be able to finish. If he can finish, it will certainly help his confidence, help our hockey club,” said Claude Julien. “But [I’m] not criticizing his work ethic because he's competing hard and
he's got some chances.

“Those things are certainly a positive thing. So there's only one thing left to do, and you hope for his sake and our sake that [the offense] comes along.”

It was noticeable that Seguin was battling to the get to the front of the net and jumping on rebounds out front in a series where both sides will be regularly paying the price. He'll need to continue that no matter where he's playing in the lineup.

Seguin had eight shots on net in the Game 1 loss in the Cup Finals, and actually leads the Bruins with 62 shots on goal in Boston’s 17 playoff games. But he he’s going to need to find the back of the net with a few of those if the Bruins need to soldier on without Horton for any number of games.