Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Horton provides boost for Bruins

Categories: Boston Bruins, Stanley Cup Final, Vancouver Canucks

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Bruins forward Nathan Horton provided an inspirational boost for his teammates on Monday night. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Associated Press) Bruins forward Nathan Horton provided an inspirational boost for his teammates on Monday night. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Associated Press)

In Game 4, Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault pulled goaltender Roberto Luongo and replaced his starter with Cory Schneider after the Bruins scored four goals. In Game 6, it took only three Boston scores for Vigneault to turn the trick once more.

At 8:35, with help from a screen from Bruins forward Mark Recchi, defenceman Andrew Ference beat Luongo with a slap shot from the left point. Not long after Ference's shot hit the back of the net, Luongo was back on the Vancouver bench to the delight of the TD Garden crowd.

Luongo had little trouble bouncing back following his previous early exit. In Game 5 at Rogers Arena, Luongo stopped every shot he saw to help his team grab a 1-0 win.

"We did that last time and then he shut us out when we got in there,"  Bruins forward Michael Ryder said. "So you know he's going to bounce back. We've got to make sure we find ways to score on him when we get there. It's all about  working to get to the net and trying to generate those chances."

Luongo didn't have much of a chance to stop Boston's first goal. After taking a pass from Recchi, forward Brad Marchand snapped a shot from the right circle that catapulted over Luongo's glove. While Luongo gave Marchand some room upstairs, it took a near-perfect shot for the rookie to beat the netminder.

"It was a good shot," Luongo said. "But at the same time, I've got to make that save. He put it where he wanted it. But I've got to make a save there."

The most questionable goal was the second, a close-range shot off the stick of Milan Lucic. Luongo got a piece of Lucic's shot between his pads. But the puck dribbled through at 6:06, just 35 seconds after Marchand's goal.

In all, Luongo was in goal for 15 of the Bruins' 17 goals at the Garden. Luongo will be back between the pipes for Game 7 at home, where he's been dominant throughout the series.

"He's a great goalie though. He is a great goalie," Boston's Johnny Boychuk said. "With two of the best goalies in the league against each other, you can't really say much more about him. Both have gotten a couple shutouts through this series, so it could be anybody's game and we're going to try and make it ours."

Horton boosts teammates

Before the morning skate, Bruins forward Nathan Horton visited his teammates to wish them good luck. But it was what he did during the first period that lifted them and their fans even more.

During a TV timeout at 7:27 of the first period, Horton stood in the Zamboni entrance. When the camera trained its sights on him, beaming him onto the scoreboard, Horton flashed his trademark smile and waved rally towels with both hands.

His teammates banged their sticks on the bench while Bruins fans gave their approval. It was Horton's first public appearance since he was concussed by Aaron Rome in Game 3 at the Garden.

"We didn't know they were going to be doing that and showing him up there," Marchand said. "You know for him to come in and give us that boost of energy is unbelievable. And obviously the crowd loves it, loves him, and are supporting him every minute of the day. It was great to see him out there. He gave us a big energy boost."

Recchi helps out

Game 6 could have been Recchi's final appearance. Instead, the Bruins' veteran made it one of the best games of his post-season.

Recchi recorded three assists and four shots in 12:03 of ice time. Now, Recchi has a shot at winning his third Stanley Cup.

"It crosses my mind," Recchi said when asked if he ever thought last night could have been it. "But I have a job out there to do for the guys. I can't put those thoughts in my head. I'm going to lay it on the line one more time, then see where it takes me after that.

"No matter what, it's been a great 22 years. I've enjoyed every minute of it. This has been one of my best ones regardless of what happens. I'm just still proud to play in the NHL. I love playing hockey and I love being in the NHL. I think it's the greatest sport out there."