Fight a tough one to watch
Coach feared losing Horton
Bruins coach Claude Julien had an up-close-and-personal view of the five-star fight yesterday between his top right winger, Nathan Horton, and young Senators center Zack Smith.
With Horton a key component in Boston’s postseason dreams, Julien had to admit that the fight, as good as it was, had him hoping it would come to an end.
“You know, you’re thinking that hopefully it ends and they let ’em go,’’ said Julien, acknowledging that he would not want to lose his strapping winger to an injury. “There’s some fear there, yes. But [Horton] has been playing with a bit of a burr and I certainly didn’t want to hold him back, either.’’
Horton left directly for the dressing room in order to have a cut over his left eye stitched. Smith bounded enthusiastically into the penalty box, sans scratches.
“You’re a hockey player, those things happen,’’ said Horton, asked if he had any concerns about getting nicked up prior to the postseason. “You don’t want to put yourself in a situation with something like that, but . . . if you’re out there playing soft, you can get hurt that way, too.’’
Horton has 83 penalty minutes on the season, just under his career high of 89. In his final two years with the Panthers, he averaged 45.
Passing lane With 2:46 remaining the second period, the Garden message board informed everyone that Mark Recchi officially slipped into the cleanup spot (No. 4) on the all-time list of games played in the NHL. “Rex’’ now has suited up for 1,652 regular-season games, one more than retired defenseman Chris Chelios. Recchi gave the appreciative crowd a quick stick salute as he lined up for a draw in the right circle.
Still ahead of Recchi: Gordie Howe (1,767), Mark Messier (1,756), and Ron Francis (1,731).
Sub duty Shawn Thornton, who picked up his 20th point and 10th assist on Daniel Paille’s goal that made it 1-0, took a shift or two on the Milan Lucic-David Krejci line while Horton was in for repairs. If Thornton picks up a point in today’s game in New Jersey he’ll equal the 21 points he scored in the 153 games he played with Boston the previous two seasons . . . Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Seidenberg had the day off, a short respite prior to the start of the playoffs. They’ll be in uniform today . . . After the game, the Senators fired coach Cory Clouston and assistants Greg Carvel and Brad Lauer. Ottawa was 95-83-20 in Clouston’s 2 1/2 seasons . . . Prior to going 1 for 4 on the power play with Horton’s goal for the 2-1 lead, the Bruins were 0 for 12 over five games . . . The Boston penalty kill went a flawless 3 for 3 and is now 16 for 19 over the last half-dozen games.