Horton practices ahead of Game 2 as Bruins' top line looks to keep rolling against Blackhawks

  • Article by: JAY COHEN , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: June 15, 2013 - 3:20 AM

CHICAGO — If Nathan Horton is unable to play in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, the Boston Bruins think Tyler Seguin will be a more than adequate replacement.

With David Krejci at center, Boston's top line is always dangerous.

The trio of Horton, Krejci and Milan Lucic combined for the first two goals in a 4-3 triple-overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night. It was the continuation of a terrific postseason for the three veterans, who also helped the Bruins win the title two years ago.

Horton, who was sidelined for the last part of the 2011 postseason by a concussion, left the series opener against Chicago with an unspecified upper body injury, but he practiced Friday and appears to be on track to play Saturday night.

"We'll have to make a decision on him tomorrow," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "It was encouraging to see him out there today. If he feels good tomorrow, he's in the lineup, simple as that."

If Horton is unable to play, Seguin likely would move up to the top line. He filled in for Horton after he left Game 1, and had a handful of prime chances to lift Boston to the victory.

Whether it's Horton or Seguin playing with Krejci and Lucic, the Blackhawks know they have to do a better job of defending that line.

"I think that's a line that has most of the offensive abilities that the good line should have," Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "They got a big body with Lucic and Horton is a pretty big guy, too, and Krejci's a good playmaker and good shot, too. So they're obviously one of the best lines in the league, if not the best.

"It's going to be a fun challenge to play against them again tomorrow and see how it goes."

Hjalmarsson was wrestling with Horton in front of the Chicago net during a Boston power play in the first overtime when the wing skated off with the injury. It appeared to be a serious problem at the time, since Horton decided at that pivotal moment that he was unable to continue.

But Horton managed to practice on the eve of Game 2 and didn't appear to be inhibited in any way. He was not made available to the media, but just his presence at practice seemed to provide a lift for the Bruins.

"It's great. He's a big part of this team and really missed him in the overtime after he went down," Krejci said. "So it's good to see him back on the ice."

Krejci and Horton each had an assist when Lucic beat Corey Crawford for the first goal of the series in the first period. Krejci set up Lucic in the second, and he fired it into the net for his fifth goal of the playoffs.

Krejci leads the NHL with nine goals and 14 assists in the postseason. Horton has seven goals and 11 assists in the playoffs, and Lucic also has 11 assists.

"I just think we're going out there and having fun and we're moving the puck well," Lucic said. "We're shooting it when we get those opportunities. We're skating well. We're doing good things on the forecheck and the offensive zone, and also we've been able to play pretty sound defensively. That is kind of the transition into our success for our line."

The 27-year-old Krejci is the engine behind that success. The gifted center has a deft touch and a knack for creating opportunities for his teammates. He has at least 23 assists in each of the last five years, including a career-high 51 in the 2008-09 season.

Krejci also is a proven playoff performer. He had 12 goals and 11 assists during the 2011 title run. His considerable skill is a major reason why Julien isn't concerned about who plays alongside him in Game 2.

"He's a pretty smart player," Julien said. "He just wants players to move and he finds them. I don't think it's a big challenge for David. I don't think it's a big challenge for whoever plays with him. All you got to do is the right thing: Get open and he'll find you."

When it comes to defending Boston's top line, Chicago wants to improve in a couple of areas. A missed check by Hjalmarsson played a role in the first goal in the series opener, and Lucic was open again for his second score.

"We can be a little better," defenseman Duncan Keith said. "Obviously, they scored a couple goals off the rush there. The first one was kind of off a forecheck off the rush. But I think just being aware when those guys are out there, having good back pressure, and trying to keep the puck in their zone as much as we can when they're on the ice helps, too."

Many of the line's rushes led to action in front of Crawford, who finished with 51 saves. He also is planning on making adjustments for Game 2.

"They're a tough line to stop," Crawford said. "They're big. They're strong and they go to the net hard, but they make plays. Our guys, you know, just try to keep them on the outside as much as possible. For me, just be patient. Don't commit to anything too early, because they do find the open guy."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 8 FINAL
LA Angels 6
Chicago Cubs 7 FINAL
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
San Francisco 11
Chicago WSox 4 FINAL
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Oakland 7
Seattle 5 FINAL
San Diego 8
Texas 5 FINAL
Los Angeles 10
Colorado 11 FINAL
Arizona 10
Arizona 1 FINAL
Colorado 2
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Brooklyn 107
Minnesota 88 FINAL
New Orleans 110
Philadelphia 86 FINAL
Cleveland 87
Detroit 102 FINAL
Miami 109
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Boston 106
Dallas 99 FINAL
Indiana 104
Memphis 89 FINAL
San Antonio 103
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Phoenix 97
Washington 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 5 FINAL
Nashville 2
Boston 2 FINAL(OT)
Carolina 1
Detroit 4 FINAL
NY Islanders 5
Florida 4 FINAL
Ottawa 2
Anaheim 2 FINAL
New Jersey 1
Chicago 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
San Jose 2 FINAL(SO)
Pittsburgh 3
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 52 FINAL
Duke 66
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Toronto FC 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 60
Temple 69 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 57
Siena 50 FINAL
Louisiana 52
St Marys-CA 66 FINAL
UCLA 82
(5) Baylor 68 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Major League Soccer be successful in Minnesota?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close