Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Horton could return for Bruins in Game 2 vs. Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Milan Lucic remembers it as if it was yesterday.

The Bruins got Nathan Horton in a trade with the Panthers three years ago, and coach Claude Julien decided to put the forward on a line with Lucic and David Krejci.

"It kind of just clicked right away," Lucic said.

The high-scoring line combined for Boston's first two goals in a 4-3 triple-overtime loss to the Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final Wednesday night. It was the continuation of a terrific postseason for the three veterans, who also helped the Bruins win the Cup two years ago.

Horton, who was sidelined for the last part of the 2011 postseason with a concussion, left Game 1 against Chicago with what is believed to be a shoulder injury, but he practiced Friday and appeared to be on track to play in Game 2 tonight.

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

If Horton is unable to play, Tyler Seguin likely will move up to the top line. He filled in for Horton in Game 1 and had a handful of prime chances.

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."

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 hurt. In Friday's practice, Horton didn't appear to be inhibited. 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," Krejci said. "He's a big part of this team and really missed him in the overtime after he went down."

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.

NHL awards: Paul MacLean of the Senators won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year and Ray Shero of the Penguins was voted general manager of the year in the first of two presentations of the league's regular-season awards. The Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews won the Selke Trophy, given to the league's best defensive forward. Wild goalie Josh Harding won the Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication. Harding was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last fall and missed 33 games for treatment. He was activated from the injured list April 22 and returned to the Wild lineup. The second awards presentation is tonight before Game 2 of the Cup final (7, NBC Sports Network).

Around the league: Mark Messier, the Hall of Fame player who led the Rangers to the 1994 Cup, said he interviewed to be the team's new coach. Messier has not coached in the league.

AHL final: Facing being swept for the Calder Cup championship, Lightning affiliate Syracuse beat host Grand Rapids 3-2 to force Game 5 tonight. Brett Connolly, Ondrej Palat and Richard Panik scored for the Crunch.

Stanley Cup final

BLACKHAWKS 1, Bruins 0

Game 1: Blackhawks 4, Bruins 3 3 OT

Tonight: at Chicago, 8, NBCSN

Monday: at Boston, 8, NBCSN

Wednesday: at Boston, 8, Ch. 8

June 22: at Chicago, 8, Ch. 8 *

June 24: at Boston, 8, Ch. 8 *

June 26: at Chicago, 8, Ch. 8 *

* If necessary

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