Nathan Horton completed another step on the way to proving that he's right back to where he once was as a highly regarded power forward that tied everything together for the Bruins.

He passed the first test after experiencing no linger concussion issues over the summer into the four month lockout, and passed a big test when he made it through training camp looking healthy, strong and viable and carried all of that goodness into the regular season.

But the true sign Horton is 100 percent back is when the timely, clutch goals start falling for the 6-foot-2, 229-pound playoff hero.

That happened in the third period of Wednesday night's exciting 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden when Horton rifled home the game-tying goal with less than five minutes to go in regulation. It was the first goal for the 27-year-old winger in over a year dating back to a Jan. 19 road win over the New Jersey Devils that came three days before the fateful game against the Philadelphia Flyers that ended his season.

So to see the red lamp signal that he had scored an NHL goal was a welcomed sight indeed.

"It was definitely nice. Not that I was thinking too much about it, but anybody would say that it's nice getting it out of the way," said Horton. "You just keep working at it. I think tonight our line played well in their end with the cycles and crashing the net. They don't give up a lot of room."

It was sweet hockey justice for Horton, who had been robbed of at least a couple of sure goals in Monday's win over the Winnipeg Jets. For his teammates it was another reminder of how much better Horton makes them as a deep forward group with each player in their proper spot – and how strongly he's returned over the last 367 days since Tom Sestito ended his season with a blindside hit to the head.