With the Bruins facing elimination entering a do-or-die Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final Monday night at TD Garden, the Bruins need more production from their number one line.
Entering the Stanley Cup Final the Bruins top trio of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton were as red-hot as any other line throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but unfortunately for the Bruins, the Blackhawks have managed to cool them down.
The trio has combined for 11 points in the five games against the Blackhawks, but six of those 11 came in game one where Lucic scored twice and Krejci and Horton combined for three assists. In a game where the Bruins cannot lose, Horton and his line mates need be better.
“I don’t know. Like I said, there hasn’t been a lot of room out there” said Horton. “We’ve got to make our own room. We’ve got to play the way we want to play, play the way we can. We all know what to do and what we have to do the next two games.”
Not only has the line struggled to put the puck in the net, but they’ve struggled defensively as the line was on the ice for both of Patrick Kane’s Game 5 goals in a crucial 2-1 loss.
“Yeah, well we were on for all the goals. Obviously, you don’t want to be on for any goals. You want to be a plus player in the game and we weren’t” added Horton.
“We know if we are going to have any chance to win we definitely have to be in the plus side.”
Being on the “plus side” (of plus-minus) is something the line has done all playoffs long as Horton—plus-21—and Krejci—plus-14—leads the playoffs in plus-minus.
The newly formed Blackhawks top line of Bryan Bickell, Jonathan Toews and Kane have carried their team to victory in the last two games to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 series lead and a chance to close out the series in Game 6 on the Bruins’ ice. It’s up to Horton and his line to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“It just kind of happens that way. Obviously, we would have wanted to win last night [Saturday]. That’s the kind of character we have in our room” said Horton. “When our backs are against the wall, we show up. Like I said, we play for the guy next to you and we all know what we have to do now. We can’t lose and we’ve got to come to play.”
It’s no secret that Horton is playing through an injury as he left Game 1 with a shoulder injury. It’s clear that the injury has affected his play in the series
“Well, I think you’ve got to…you don’t want to hurt anyone. You don’t want to hurt your teammates. I think you have to be the judge yourself if you can help or you can’t help. I think that’s…you have to be true to yourself and do what you can” added Horton”
“Well, like I said, I’m fine. I just haven’t had the opportunities”
The Bruins top line has to create and finish those opportunities in Game 6, otherwise it could be one disappointing night in Boston.