Nathan Horton Provides Inspiration and Surprise Visit, While Rich Peverley Supplies Goals in His Place Sparking Bruins Win


Nathan Horton Provides Inspiration and Surprise Visit, While Rich Peverley Supplies Goals in His Place Sparking Bruins Win BOSTON — Nathan Horton never left the hearts and minds of his Bruins teammates.

By the end of his night, he was back with them in the locker room as well.

After helping inspire Boston to a huge 4-0 win over Vancouver in Game 4 to even the Stanley Cup Final at two games apiece, the injured Bruins forward made a surprise appearance to continue the tradition that's become the symbol of the Bruins' postseason run.

Horton, who will miss the rest of the series with a concussion suffered in Game 3, returned to speak with his teammates after the victory, and passed on the vintage Bruins jacket that's been awarded to a Bruin player after every win since Andrew Ference found it on eBay late in the regular season.

Every victory until Game 3's 8-1 win that is. That night, the jacket remained in Horton's stall while he was in the hospital after a brutal late hit by Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome. The Bruins were willing to let the jacket stay there for the remainder of the Cup Final, but Horton wanted to pass it on. Fittingly, it went to the man who replaced him on the top line, as Rich Peverley earned the honor after scoring the first and final goals of Boston's win.

"When I personally got to see him in the locker room, you know, I was incredibly happy and it gave me a big boost," Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said. "He was there to pass the jacket on. We didn't pass the jacket on the last game with him gone. I think the team would have been happy leaving it with Horty for the rest of this series, but he wanted to give it away and keep the tradition going that we'd started.

"So actually he gave it to Peverley, the guy who replaced him on the line," Thomas added. "He was obviously great for us tonight. He got the first goal and the last goal. That first goal and the fourth goal are very important goals. We wouldn't have won without the way he played. I think he did a great job stepping into Horty's spot on the line. I'm very happy for Pevs, too."

Peverley was quick to point out that he didn't, and couldn't, replace Horton, but he did his best to fit in with new linemates David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Each of them set up the goals, with Krejci springing him for a breakaway 11:59 into the first period and Lucic sending a crossing pass over that deflected in off Peverley at 3:39 of the third.

"I'm just going in and trying to play my game," Peverley said. "[Horton's] a great player. There's certain aspects, obviously, I'm not as good at as he is, but if I can use my assets, my speed and get in on the forecheck, I think that's going to help."

Krejci was certainly happy to have that help, and made use of Peverley's speed for the game's opening goal.

"He's just playing his game," Krejci said of Peverley. "They're both great skaters. I know what he can do. He's a little shifty guy and when he got that breakaway, it was good to see him bury that one."

The rest of the Bruins were appreciative of Peverley's ability to step into such an important role.

"We're really deep, Pevs can play on all lines," defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. "He can play on a checking line. He can play on a scoring line. He's real versatile, and that's definitely good to have that kind of depth on your team."

The Bruins showed more of their depth as each of their top three lines scored, while the fourth line contributed some strong shifts, creating chances and wearing down the Vancouver defense with their physical play.

Michael Ryder, who also saw some shifts on the top line after Peverley was used on the penalty kill, added Boston's second goal, with Tyler Seguin, who returned to the lineup with Horton out, picking up the primary assist for his first point in eight games.

All of the Bruins cited Horton as an inspiration for the victory, and the Garden crowd kept him fresh in their minds as well with frequent chants of Horton's name ringing out through the arena.

"He definitely motivates us," Seidenberg said. "We play for him and battle even harder for him. I mean, losing a guy like him is really tough. He's done so much throughout the playoffs for us, so he's definitely in the back of our minds every game."

And then he was back in their room, making it truly a perfect night at the Garden.

"It was awesome," forward Shawn Thornton said. "He's such a good team guy. He does everything for us and he has all year. Everybody on this team loves him. He makes everyone around him feel better about themselves. I don't think I've ever met a more positive guy in the room. So for him to come in, the guys were pretty excited. I didn't even know he was here until he walked out to give the jacket. That was a pretty nice surprise."

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