BOSTON -- Bruins wingers Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic knew they had let their team down in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Carolina and also knew their games weren’t up to par. After that frustrating performance, they chose not to address the media postgame, but they did face the music Wednesday after practice, when both accepted blame and acknowledged that they need to get back to what makes them effective -- using their size, skating and being an overall presence on the ice.
In Thursday’s 6-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, that’s exactly what they did. Horton had a goal and an assist and Lucic had a goal and two assists.
Horton -- who took a costly double-minor that led to a third-period power-play goal by the Hurricanes Tuesday -- wanted to deliver on his word that he would make up for that mishap against the Leafs.
“Well, definitely yesterday and the game before, I mean, I don’t want to hurt my team,” Horton said. “It was a mistake but I just try to work hard and forget about it and just work hard for my teammates. I mean that’s why we’re here, to try to get back to playing good and winning games.”
“It felt good. I mean, good things happen when you move your feet, and especially playing with those guys,” Horton said. “They’re so fast and they make such good plays cycling and I just try to move my feet so I can keep up with them.”((
Lucic was active as well and credited his teammates for being similarly involved.
“I think a big reason why especially in the first period and the third, not just myself but the whole team, we had success because we were moving the puck forward, we were moving our feet and we were making good, short crisp passes,” Lucic said. “And when we’re doing that, when we’re supporting each other coming up the ice as a five-man unit, that’s when we get our most opportunities and that was evident tonight.”
Lucic’s hard work helped him get a big monkey off his back, as he scored his first goal of the season. But he seemed more satisfied that he turned his words from Wednesday into action.
“Obviously it’s good to break that, get that first one of the year and I think today, my focus wasn’t on scoring and like we talked about (was more about) just playing that straight-line type of game,” Lucic said. “And moving my feet and I think that’s why everything else kind of fell into place like usual.”