BOSTON — Nathan Horton was a little desperate, but he still wanted to keep his latest attempt to break out of his slump on the down low.
So when he decided to stop by a local pro shop to look for a new stick that might change his luck, he didn't let on that the new lumber was actually for him.
"I was with my friend though, I said it was for him," Horton said.
But after breaking out with a five-point night to earn first-star honors in Wednesday's wild 8-6 win over the Canadiens at TD Garden, Horton was more than happy to talk about the new Easton twig that helped him snap out of his recent funk.
"The funny thing is that's the stick I bought at the pro shop around here during the [All-Star] break," Horton said. "I got one more left and hopefully they order a new batch. I actually left the price on it too, during the game. I'm not going to take it off now."
After managing just one goal and three assists in his previous 13 games, Horton exploded for a goal and four assists on Wednesday, for the first five-point night of his career.
"I don't think I have [scored five points]," Horton said. "It's nice. Obviously it helps me a little bit with my confidence. It's nice to get the points, but it's a big game for us. It was a four-point game [in the standings] and we won."
Horton's confidence may have flagged a bit during his recent struggles, but he remained steadfast in happiness to have come to Boston last summer in a deal for Dennis Wideman.
"It's been a while, but I'm happy to be here and I'm working hard," Horton said. "I have great linemates and we talked before the game that we wanted to play well and help the team more than we have, and I think it was a talk and well needed."
Horton has been reunited with David Krejci and Milan Lucic for the last handful of games, and they finally seem to be recapturing the magic they showed together at the start of the season.
"We just have to play with a little emotion and be excited," Horton said. "There's not a lot of times that you get to play with such great players and on a great team. You've got to enjoy yourself and when things aren't going your way, just be happy and have fun."
Horton's teammates were having fun seeing him finally be rewarded with some points.
"It's awesome," said defenseman Adam McQuaid, who scored his first goal of the season off a Horton feed in the second period. "He's been working hard, he's been playing pretty hard, he's just been hasn't been getting the numbers to show for it. It's nice to see for his sake and the team's sake that he had a game like he did tonight."
Now the Bruins just want to see Horton maintain this level of play and return to the consistent scoring threat he was in the opening weeks of the season.
"That's what we've wanted from him for a while now," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "It happened tonight and we're certainly happy with that, but now it's a matter of him hopefully continuing to do that for our team. It's a big help for us."