This is only the first playoff series in the young but promising careers of Nathan Horton and Brad Marchand. From the way the two are playing though, you might have a hard time telling.
Marchand scored midway through the third period to put the Bruins up 1-0 and Horton was the overtime hero, scoring nine minutes into the fifth period of play to top the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 Saturday night at the TD Garden in Boston.
The game was the first win for a home team in the series, which Boston now leads 3-2 heading back to Montreal for game six.
In the closing moments of a second period that featured somewhat of a slower pace, Marchand found himself in the middle of a scrum with Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec in front of the Canadiens net, which seemed to pump some life into the building and his teammates.
“Yeah, well I was trying to stay away from it a bit there at first,” explained Marchand of the altercation. “But [Tomas] Plekanec kind of got in my face there and I wasn’t too happy about it. I tried to throw a punch, but I don’t think I got him.”
Though Marchand might not have considered his scuffle a success, he later made his mark where it counted most.
It was Marchand again who acted as a momentum spark in the third when after an in tight give and go type passing play with Patrice Bergeron, the Bruin’s rookie slipped the puck passed an outstretched Carey Price for the first playoff goal of his career.
“It was very exciting. It was nice to get the monkey off the back. It took a little while but again I was just pretty excited about it,” said Marchand. “It was nice to get the first one. Thank God guys stepped up lately and they didn’t need me to score. So it was nice to kind of get one and chip in a little there.”
Where Marchand gave the Bruins a scoring touch to take the initial lead, it was another playoff rookie in Nathan Horton who found himself finishing off the job.
After moving the puck around above the face off dots, Horton moved into position on top of the crease where he is especially dangerous and found open space to pounce on a rebound to seal the win.
“We knew it was going to be a greasy goal, and it sure was,” explained Horton. “It was a rebound, but they all count.”
And for only the fifth playoff game of his career, Horton seems to be getting the hang of things pretty quickly.
“It’s awesome. It’s a great experience and you don’t know until you’re truly there, until you feel it, how exciting it is to be a hockey player,” said Horton. “It’s pretty special. It’s a lot more fun when you’re winning, obviously, and you’re feeling good.”
Horton and his line mates Milan Lucic and David Kreji had recently come under some criticism for lack of production thus far in the series, but Horton was quick to point out what he really feels is more important.
“Well, obviously we do want to score. We’ve had opportunities to score, we’ve been playing well, but it hasn’t been going in. But it’s a team game and like you said, in the playoffs, it doesn’t matter who scores, it matters who wins”
The Bruins head to Montreal Tuesday to try and close out the series against the Canadiens, but they know that’s something easier said than done.
“The last game is always the toughest one to get. And we saw it last year with Philly. So we just have to make sure that we’re ready. They’re going to come out really hard and we have to match that.” explained Marchand.
“We didn’t do that last time we were in Montreal, and they dominated us in the first period. So we just have to make sure we have a good start.”