Even after a bright start with a new team faded into an interminable scoring slump, Nathan Horton was quick to flash a smile and insist he was working hard and trying to score. He had chances, he said.

The 25-year-old Bruins right wing spent the first six seasons of his NHL career with the Panthers, his best year a 31-goal, 62-point effort in 2006-07, but Florida was always a playoff wannabe. So when Horton came to the Bruins this season and started with a sensational run — including a pair of goals in the opener and 9 points in the first six games — he seemed to sport a perpetual grin.

Turns out the grin was permanent, but the scoring was a little sketchy. His point production dipped, then dropped to nothing. He had a six-game point-less streak in late November/early December, another later in December, and scored but a single goal in a 20-game stretch.