Even on the other side of the continent, people have marveled throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs at Nathan Horton's ability to come up with clutch goals.

The Bruins winger took eight goals, including three game-winning scores, into Rogers Arena last night in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final against the Canucks.

Most famously, Horton, who had never played in the playoffs before this season, scored the game-winner in both of the Bruins' Game 7 victories. Horton scored in overtime against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round and in the third period of the Eastern Conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Some of Horton's former Florida Panthers teammates, who he'll face in this best-of-seven series for the Cup, have kept a keen eye on his playoff activities.

"He can be just very, very dominant," said Vancouver defenseman Keith Ballard, a Florida teammate of Horton's for two seasons. "And I think that's the player most people have seen throughout these playoffs. The few games I've watched of him, he's been very good. I think with him, he didn't get much credit in Florida when he was playing well.

"For two years, we saw him put in so many dominating performances but it almost seems like people didn't want to decide for themselves. The people would say that he doesn't play hard or whatever the knock on him would be in public opinion. Instead of finding out for themselves and watching him play, they'd just go along with it. The way he's playing now I think is the way he played a lot of times when I played with him."