But they may have suffered a huge loss in the process.
Top-line forward Nathan Horton was injured at 5:07 of the first period when hit by a vicious blindside shot to the head by Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome.
“I just saw him laying there and it didn’t look too good,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. “It’s a scary thing to see.”
Horton was taken off the ice on a stretcher and transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, and updates on his condition were minimal immediately after the game.
“I know I’ve got the same things that you guys got, that he was obviously moving around,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “That’s all that I’ve been told. I don’t have any more to share with you guys.
“Looking back at the hit, you say was it a dirty hit,” Julien added. “I think what I would call it is, it was a blindside hit that we’ve talked about taking out of the game. He made the pass. [The hit] was late. [Rome] came from the blindside. Whether it’s through the motion of the hit, it appeared he left his feet a little bit. You know, again, that’s my view on it. I’m not going to comment more than that. I’ll say what I always say, let the league take care of it. We’re trying to clean that out. Let’s see where they go with that.”
That was the stance of Horton’s teammates as well when it came to the possibility of a suspension for Rome.
“That’s the league’s decision,” Bruin forward Shawn Thornton said. “That’s way above my pay grade. I just lace them up and go out there and try to work hard. I’m sure they’ll do what they deem necessary.”
Thornton was more concerned with Horton’s condition than with what happens to Rome, who actually played with Thornton in the Anaheim system.
“The initial emotion was anger, then I was worried, hoping he was OK,” Thornton said of his response to seeing the hit. “I haven’t talked to anybody yet. I hope he’s doing well. We’ll get more news as it goes here.”
Thornton was adamant that it was the kind of play that should have no part in the game of hockey.
“We talk about it all the time here as players that’s what we have to get out of the game — headshots, blind side, that’s what the rule is there for,” Thornton said. “I got to see the replay and I don’t think that stuff is warranted. That’s on us as players. It needs to be addressed, because there’s too many of those things going on in this league as far as I’m concerned.
“I don’t think there’s any room for hits like that in hockey, when you’re targeting other guys’ heads,” Thornton added.
The Bruins didn’t score on the five-minute power play after Rome was given an interference major and a game misconduct for the hit, but the play seemed to galvanize the Bruins, who came out in the second period and broke open a scoreless game with four goals.
“We obviously all saw what happened on the ice,” Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. “First intermission, we just told ourselves that we were going to do it for Horty and that just gave us more motivation to do well and play harder.”
Of course, with a Stanley Cup at stake, the Bruins were already pretty motivated.
“We were pretty pumped up to play anyways, it’s the Stanley Cup Finals, you’ve got to be ready to go,” Thornton said. “But when you see a guy like Nathan who’s an unbelievable team guy, he has been the whole year here, you obviously want to bring a little bit more for him maybe. But I really just hope he’s OK. I’m more worried than anything.”
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