Often it’s the first line that gets most of the attention in hockey. But that wasn’t necessarily the case for the Boston Bruins — especially when it came to Game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Montreal Canadiens.
Back then the Bruins were led by Mark Recchi, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on the first line. And while they were a force to be reckoned with, Recchi and Shawn Thornton never will forget how the David Krejci-Nathan Horton-Milan Lucic line made its presence felt, too.
“Lucic and Horton were just beasts and what people might not know is the three of them were thick as thieves off the ice too. They were like brothers,” Thornton said in an interview with SportsNet. “I mean, Horton and Lucic are still tighter than two coats of paint, so they played for each other. And I mean, as a team we were really tight.
“But that line, it’s as tight as it comes.”
But within the line, there was one player who stood out to Thornton and Recchi: Horton. In their eyes, there was more to him than he let on.
“Horton had a habit of coming up in big moments and never wanting any credit for it or he’d never wanted to let people know that he wanted to be the guy in those moments, but he definitely came through,” Thornton added. “… Horty is just such a humble, shy guy away from the rink, that you wouldn’t know it. But you put the puck on his stick, he’s going to try to make something happen.”
And that’s precisely what he did. The winger notched the game-winner in overtime during Game 7 to send the Bruins into the next round of postseason play, before ultimately going on to win the Stanley Cup.
“Seeing the puck go in … I mean you can’t describe the feeling. You’ve been through so much already in the first round, and to know you’re going to continue to go on and continue, it was unbelievable when it went in,” Recchi said in the interview with SportsNet.
Of course, Krejci is the only one from that second line who’s still with the B’s in the 2019-20 season. But he’s helped lead the team to No. 1 in the league with 100 points before the season was paused due to the COVID-19 outbreak.