Although it wasn’t scheduled beforehand, a little time off at the end of the regular season might’ve been just the prescription Bruins forward Nathan Horton needed to find his game.

Horton missed the final five games with an upper-body injury. He started skating a few days before he joined the Bruins for practice Tuesday, and then produced one of his best games in a while against Toronto the following night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

“Definitely,” Horton said yesterday about the rest being a positive. “Like I said, it was a short year, but it was a long one. (Playing) every other day, it was a tough year. It’s tough feeling good every game. Especially (after) not playing in a year, it was tough. But it’s easy to feel good (playing every other day) in the playoffs because every game means so much. It’s just so much fun, you know? The best time in hockey.”

Horton scored a power-play goal and was credited with three shots on net and three hits. His fresh legs combined with the playoff atmosphere to get his engine roaring again, one year after he missed the playoffs and the second half of the regular season with a concussion.

It also helped that after juggling his lines for much of this regular season’s second half, coach Claude Julien reunited Horton with center David Krejci and Milan Lucic — a trio that’s been a staple of the Bruins lineup since Horton’s arrival prior to the 2010-11 season.