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Predicting what’s next for Nathan Horton, and why 10 is his lucky number

02.02.11 at 6:31 pm ET
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In case you haven’t heard, Nathan Horton scored on Tuesday. Who would have thought when the Bruins acquired the talented scorer over the summer that such a basic feat, and one that he’s accomplished 155 times, would be a big deal in February?

Inconsistency set in with Horton after a great start to the season, and more recently he had been unable to score even when he had positive showings. Such is the life of a streaky goal-scorer, but after scoring his first goal after 10 days without one, what is next for the 25-year-old?

Thanks to the good old stat truck, we can actually do a bit of projecting here, and it looks good. Turns out that Horton, who is known to have slumps, really turns it on when they reach 10 games.

Horton went 10 games without a goal to begin his career back in the 2003-04 season. Despite the fact that he was the team’s first-round draft choice (they traded down from the top spot and grabbed him at No. 3 overall), rookies get cut a bit of slack in that department. Hell, Tyler Seguin has had stretches of 11 and nine games (the latter of which is active) without a goal, but you don’t get on a rookie for struggling to find the back of the net. But I digress.

The story with Horton is that he is no stranger to these extra-long stretches of games without a goal. He’s probably the most talented scorer on the team (though Seguin should eventually dethrone him there), but he has had his struggles with getting goals on a consistent basis.

The good news is that 10 seems to be some sort of magic number for Horton. He reaches either 10 or 11 straight games without a goal and then finds a way to not only score, but score often. Take that rookie season of his for example. Horton scored his first career goal in the 11th game and followed it up with another tally the next game. From there he cooled again, but over the course of his career, Horton has been able to follow cold streaks that reach double digits by reminding people why his talents are so highly regarded.

Here’s the rub on Horton’s other stretches of 10 or more games without a goal over the course of his career:

– Horton failed to register a goal over 10 games from Dec. 22 to Jan. 8 in the 2005-06 season. Similar to this season, Horton scored after 10 games, and followed it up with another goal the next game. Upon scoring the slump-breaking goal against the Blues on Jan. 12, Horton went on to notch five goals in his next 10 games.

– In the 2007-08 season, Horton went 11 games (Jan. 5-Jan. 30) without a goal. He caught fire following the stretch, scoring eight goals over the next nine games, including a stretch of four straight games with a goal.

– The 2008-09 campaign also saw a prolonged scoring slump for Horton. He went 10 games without a goal from Nov. 14 to Dec. 26 (with some missed games sprinkled in therewith an ankle injury). Horton followed that up with six goals over his next eight games. You’ve probably caught onto the pattern from now on.

Last time Horton found himself the topic of “it’s been ___ games since this guy scored” columns and discussions (Dec. 15 to Jan. 1), he scored after nine games, getting one in the second period of the team’s 2-1 victory over the Maple Leafs on Jan. 3. That didn’€™t seem to be the slump-breaker that he’€™s gotten in the past, as he followed it up with the freezing 10-game stretch that he finally broke Tuesday.

Maybe nine doesn’€™t do the trick when it comes to Horton’€™s slumps. Once it gets to 10, the statistical output that may have seemed to be hiding finally emerges, and does so in a big way. The Bruins can only hope that 10 proves to be the magic number once again.

Read More: Nathan Horton,

Bruins still waiting for Marc Savard to arrive for evaluation

02.02.11 at 1:27 pm ET
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Bruins center Marc Savard hadn’t made it back to Boston as of Wednesday afternoon due to travel issues, with the team hoping he would end up arriving before the day’s end. Savard is set to be re-evaluated by team doctors after he spent the last week in Peterborough, Ontario resting following his second concussion in just over 10 months.

While the team will obviously learn more from further evaluation, Peter Chiarelli told ESPN this week that  Bruins are considering shutting him down for the rest of the season in hopes that he can have a clean slate at the start of the 2011-12 campaign. After missing the first 23 games of the season with post-concussion syndrome stemming from last March’s Matt Cooke hit, Savard totaled two goals and eight assists for 10 points and had a minus-7 rating in 25 games.

Savard has suffered four concussions in his career. The 33-year-old is in the first year of a seven-year deal that carries an annual salary cap hit of $4.017.

Read More: Marc Savard, Peter Chiarelli,

Nathan Horton makes his first goal in a long time count, Bruins beat Hurricanes

02.01.11 at 9:31 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron added to his current hot streak, while Nathan Horton scored his first goal since Jan. 3 as the Bruins defeated the Hurricanes, 3-2, on Tuesday night.

Daniel Paille also scored for the B’s, recording his first goal of the season when he tipped a Zdeno Chara shot past Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward.

Tim Thomas made 24 saves on the night and improved his season record to 25-5-6. His 25 wins put him in a tie with Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller for the league lead.

The Hurricanes received goals from Jamie McBain and Joe Corvo in the first and third period, respectively.

The Bruins will return the Garden Thursday night when they face the Stars.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– To say the Bruins needed Horton to get going in an understatement. The 25-year-old had just 12 goals entering the night, and only one of those had come in the last 20 games. With Marc Savard out, the Bruins need all their guys going, and can’t depend on Patrice Bergeron to continue scoring enough for multiple people. Speaking of which’€¦

– Bergeron continues to score enough to make up for any slumps teammates may be going through. Bergeron, who was named the NHL’s No. 1 Star of the Month for January via his 17 points last month (8 G, 9 A) kicked off January in style by scoring his 17th goal of the season.

– With Adam McQuaid‘s plus-1 on the night, he is now a plus-16 on the season, good for fifth on the team. Chara was also a plus-1 and leads the Bruins with a plus-1 and leads the B’s with a plus-23 rating.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– The Bruins found themselves shorthanded four times, with the last penalty, a Brad Marchand hooking call, resulting in a Carolina goal.

– Staying in the special teams department, the Bruins didn’t have a single power play over the course of the game, as the only time a Hurricanes player found the penalty box was when Jay Harrison got five for fighting following his first-period bout with Milan Lucic.

It was only the second game this season (Dec. 18 vs. Washington) in which the Bruins did not have a power play.

Tyler Seguin played just 6:37 after he received an early benching for a shift early on that featured multiple turnovers and led to a Michael Ryder interference penalty.

Read More: Daniel Paille, Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas

Daniel Paille scores first goal of season, Bruins tied with Hurricanes after two

02.01.11 at 8:38 pm ET
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The Bruins and Hurricanes followed a scoreless period with one-goal efforts in the second, and after 40 minutes, the teams are tied, 1-1.

In a game that has featured terrific goaltending throughout the night, it’s only fitting that Daniel Paille provided the night’s first goal. Paille, who hadn’t scored since last April, tipped a Zdeno Chara past Cam Ward at 4:14 of the period. Hurricanes defenseman Jamie McBain scored his fourth goal of the season when he got his stick on a slow-bouncing pass from Sergei Samzonov in front of the net.

Blake Wheeler had the period’s only penalty, a delay of game minor for flipping the puck over the glass in the B’s defensive zone at 6:07. The Hurricanes are now 0-for-3 on the power play, while the B’s have yet to have a man advantage.

Carolina had eight shots in the period to Boston’s six. Through two, the Bruins are outshooting the Hurricanes, 21-18.

Read More: Danie Paille,

Bruins, Hurricanes scoreless after one

02.01.11 at 7:47 pm ET
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The Bruins and Hurricanes are scoreless after a period, with the B’s outshooting Carolina, 15-10.

The Bruins were shorthanded twice in the period, with Daniel Paille and Michael Ryder going off for hooking and interference, respectively. Neither Hurricanes power plays yielded goals, though Paille had a breakaway opportunity for the Bruins when he hopped out of the box. Tim Thomas made some big saves, and even went without his mask for a few seconds, on the first penalty kill.

Milan Lucic and Jay Harrison dropped the gloves briefly, though the fight yielded very few punches before beanbag broken up.

with Lucic in the box, Claude Julien went with tweaked lines, and a line of Wheeler-Campbell-Thornton would have produced the game’s first goal were it not for Cam Ward robbing Blake Wheeler in front.

The period ended with a bang, as Steven Kampfer crushed fellow rookie Jeff Skinner accepted a pass coming into the Bruins’ zone.

Report: Bruins considering shutting down Marc Savard

02.01.11 at 8:06 am ET
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In a phone conversation with ESPN.com, Bruins’ general manager Peter Chiarelli said that his team is considering putting an end to Marc Savard’s season after the forward suffered his fourth career concussion.

“There is a strong possibility [of shutting him down], but you have to take it step by step,” said Chiarelli regarding Savard, who will be in Boston to be re-evaluated Wednesday. Chiarelli noted that the team still might not have a determination regarding Savard’s immediate future following the upcoming round of tests.

Savard is still at his home in Peterborough, Ont., having continued to experience symptoms from his latest concussion, suffered on Jan. 22.

“There is a possibility [of shutting Savard down], but nothing has been done and you have to see how Marc is,” Chiarelli said. “Anytime you suffer a concussion, after having a severe concussion and the symptoms that he had, it is a possibility.” If the Bruins do shut down Savard, he would be placed on long-term injured reserve, allowing some salary cap flexibility if the team was to purse a deal before the trade deadline.

Speaking at the Bruins’ practice Monday, B’s coach Claude Julien updated Savard’s situation.

“He still has some symptoms. It hasn’t totally disappeared,” explained Julien. “We’ll let the medical people deal with him when he gets back. Hopefully for his sake, not the team’s sake, but more for his sake that he gets better.

“It’s important for the individual here that he takes care of himself. The organization, medical staff, upper management and everybody has always done the right thing as far as that’s concerned, and that won’t change.”

For more Bruins coverage, see the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Birthday boy Tyler Seguin exceeded his own expectations in Hardest Shot competition

01.31.11 at 4:40 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin didn’t need to have an All-Star first half to get an opportunity to soak in the All-Star atmosphere. As one of the rookies chosen to be on display in the SuperSkills event Saturday night, the second overall pick got to meet the best players the league has to offer while also getting a read on how hard he can fire a slapshot.

Given that he competed in the Hardest Shot competition, Seguin’s performance was bound to be overshadowed by teammate Zdeno Chara, who once again set a record and won with a 105.9 shot. Yet Seguin impressed, topping out at 97.1 mph, which was third-best on Team Lidstrom (Chara and Alexander Ovechkin finished ahead of him).

Going into the event, it was hard to know what to expect. Seguin, who turned 19 Monday, doesn’t take many slap shots, and based on his style of play, it would appear his skating would probably earn him more attention in a skills competition. Still, Seguin showed that his slapper is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. He fared better than the other rookie in the competition, as Anaheim’s Cam Fowler topped out at 93.8 mph.

“I was hoping for above 85 [mph], and that I wasn’t going to embarrass myself,” Seguin admitted after Monday’s practice.

Just 85? The rookie ended up shooting it more than 12 mph harder than he had been hoping for, but having never seen the gun taken to his shot, he didn’t know what to expect.

“I had no idea,” Seguin said. “I mean, it was the first time I did it. I was just hoping for over 85, maybe 90, and it worked out well.”

As a whole, Seguin enjoyed the weekend and would be happy if he could make it a yearly occurence.

“You have guys like Ovechkin, [Eric] Staal, [Kris] Letang, top guys. I got to meet them all and hang out,” Seguin said. “It was a good experience.”

Read More: 2011 NHL All Star Game, Tyler Seguin,
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