Nathan Horton(notes) played 502 games in the NHL before appearing in a single Stanley Cup Playoff game. On Saturday night, in his fifth postseason appearance, he scored the game-winning goal in double overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 victory and a 3-2 series lead over the Montreal Canadiens.
Horton was asked in the postgame presser: Now that he's finally gotten a taste of the playoffs, did they meet his expectations?
He exhaled, smiled and shook his head, like a teenager who just exited from a roller coaster recalling the ride. "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."
A few things on this game-winner:
• The little give-and-go with Milan Lucic(notes) and Andrew Ference(notes) at the top of the zone really made this work. Watch James Wisniewski(notes) and Tomas Plekanec(notes) after Ference gets the puck: Both rotate to the left side to defend the shot, leaving Roman Hamrlik(notes) to defend both David Krejci(notes) and Horton.
• Ference is looking for a tip from Krejci, but instead puts it off Price straightaway. Can't fault him on the rebound. Horton makes a nice play to control it and score, but Hamrlik needed to box him out better. Again, though: He's in a 1-on-2 down low.
• Finally, while he got help from Michael Ryder(notes) and Zdeno Chara(notes) earlier in the game with stops in the crease, this save from Tim Thomas(notes) (44 saves, 15 in overtime) was a game-saver.
He was locked-in during overtime. And now, the Bruins are one win away from Round 2.