By Allan Muir
It could have been worse.
Claude Julien said that Nathan Horton, Boston’s second-leading scorer during the playoffs, is day-to-day after suffering an undisclosed injury early in the first overtime of Game 1.
“Keeping our fingers crossed,” Julien said Thursday afternoon. “Hopefully he’ll be back next game.”
Horton appeared to hurt himself while engaged with Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson. After some minor contact, Horton doubled over and coasted off the ice.
There’s been speculation that Horton has been bothered by a lingering injury suffered during a fight with Pittsburgh’s Jarome Iginla late in the regular season. Julien didn’t comment on that, or who might step into the lineup to replace Horton if he can’t go Saturday night in Game 2.
The most likely choices would seem to be Jordan Caron or Carl Soderberg. Caron, a former first-round pick, is a big body who can bang along the boards and play a safe game on the fourth line. Soderberg brings a bit more of a two-way game — he led the Swedish league in goal-scoring last season — but with just six NHL games under his belt, it might be asking too much of him to step in at this point. Still, considering the stone hands that Jaromir Jagr and Tyler Seguin are carrying around, he might be a risk worth taking.
Seguin replaced Horton on the first line alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic in Game 1, and he’s expected to get another look there Saturday, despite his struggles to put the puck in the net.
“He skated. He had some chances,” Julien said. “He’s got speed up there with them. He’s got skill. For him, it’s an opportunity right now. He did a great job. We’ll see where everybody stands here by Saturday.”