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Boston’s Nathan Horton Questionable for Game 2


Known all season for their depth and physical play, the Boston Bruins certainly didn’t mind getting into an endurance contest with the Chicago Blackhawks in game one of the Stanley Cup Finals, but it was Chicago who outlasted Boston in three overtimes, prevailing 4-3 while ending the Bruins’ five-game playoff win streak.

Now, Boston’s depth is even more in question after seeing top-line forward Nathan Horton leave game one with an upper body injury. Horton did not return and is currently listed as day-to-day, meaning that he may not play in game two at the United Center on Saturday.

“Keeping our fingers crossed,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said, according to ESPN.com. “Hopefully he’ll be back next game.”

The injury occurred during a Bruins power play in the first overtime when Horton was battling for position in front of the net with Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson. As play continued, he skated over to the bunch hunched over with an apparent shoulder injury.

Though we’re not sure what the injury is exactly at this point, we do know that losing Horton for game two would be extremely detrimental to Boston’s chances to even the series. Horton has been part of a Bruins top line that has combined for 57 total points this postseason, with 18 coming from Horton himself. Horton’s seven goals and 11 assists have given his team a big lift in clutch games and missing that kind of production would put the Bruins at an even bigger disadvantage on the road tomorrow night.

“He’s been good,” Julien said. “You look at his statistics and you look at what he’s accomplished, even with Lucic’s first goal, it was a great heads-up play by [Horton]. He’s been really good.”

Although Julien is hopeful that Horton will suit up for game two, he’s also preparing a gameplan without him. Julien wouldn’t comment on who might replace Horton in the starting lineup, but with Tyler Seguin and Daniel Paille on his stacked bench, we know he’s got plenty of solid options.

Seguin is the most likely candidate to fill in for Horton, especially considering he finished game one in Horton’s place on Wednesday and impressed Julien with his play.

“He’s been skating well,” Julien said. “To me, right now the only thing he needs to do is to be able to finish. If he can finish, it’ll certainly help his confidence, help our hockey club. I’m not criticizing his work ethic because he’s competing hard and he’s got some chances. Those things are certainly positive, and there’s only one thing left to do, and you hope for his sake, and our sake, that it comes along.”

With or without Horton, the Bruins will certainly need to demonstrate their strength of player depth as the series wears on. Even though they didn’t pull out the win in game one, they proved they can hang with the Western Conference’s best team for six periods and showed that they’ll never go down easy. And after seeing Boston sweep the top-seeded Penguins in the East Finals, as bettors, we certainly know what it is capable of. Keep an eye on the injury wire to see if Horton will play, but expect a close, physical bout in game two either way.



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