BOSTON – The Bruins’ rallying cry heading into tonight’s Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final goes something like “victory would be the ultimate revenge.”
While the Bruins players want to keep their fallen teammate Nathan Horton somewhere in their minds, they also want a win in tonight’s pivotal game against Vancouver to be front and center in their brains.
“No. 1, he’s not forgotten,” said head coach Claude Julien after his team’s morning skate. “On the other hand, I don’t think you have to focus on what’s happened more than what needs to happen here in this next game. We desperately need a win to get ourselves back in this series. That’s where our focus is. It’s certainly not going to be about looking for revenge. Justice has been served, so there’s no other reason to look for more.”
Without the 6-foot-2, 229-pound Horton – who suffered a severe concussion in Monday’s Game 3 win — the Bruins’ lineup will a have a different look. Down 2-1 in the series, they won’t be able to lean as much on their bulk and size to get by.
Center David Krejci, who’s used to setting up Horton and Milan Lucic, might even have to change his game. There’s been no official word on who will replace Horton on the Bruins’ top line.
“It’s not easy to play without one of your best players,” said Krejci. “But everybody knows that we have to step up our game and play for him, too. I think last game we did exactly that. We didn’t care, we just went out there and played the game and won it for him. Everybody was chipping in and that’s what happened and that’s what is going to happen tonight.”
It could be Michael Ryder riding Krejci’s right side tonight to start. Ryder and Krejci found great chemistry in the 2008-09 season.
“I would say it’s nice [to play with him],” said Krejic. “I played with him a few shifts last game. It was nice. I think he’s a great player, I’ll always be happy to play with him if I can. If that’s going to happen tonight, hopefully we can keep putting the puck in the net like we have in the past.”
Rookie Tyler Seguin will be in Horton’s lineup spot and could also take some shifts with Krejci’s line or at least among the Bruins’ top six depending on how the game unfolds.
“I think whenever you lose a guy like Horts, or when we lost [Patrice Bergeron] there for a few games, I think everyone just has to play their game, especially against a team like Vancouver,” said Seguin, who was scratched from Game 3. “Even when Horts was out [in Game 3], everyone stepped up and that’s why we won big last game. If we stay consistent with that, everything should work out good.”
While the Bruins’ “postgame trophy jacket” will probably remain with Horton for the duration of this series, there’s no reason why every Bruins player can’t go out and perform as though they want to wear that hideous cloak.