They're hoping to have a smoother transition to the next round.
Jarome Iginla scored on a deflected shot 13:32 into overtime to give the Bruins a come-from-behind 3-2 victory against the Red Wings on Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.
The Bruins lead the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series 3-1 and can close out the Red Wings and earn a second-round date with the Montreal Canadiens by winning Game 5 on Saturday at TD Garden (3 p.m. ET; NBC, RDS, TSN).
"It was a bit ugly at times, but then we got our stuff together and got going," said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who made 35 saves. "It's just one of those things that we have a lot of character in this room, that once we get going, we can come [back] from a deficit. But it just has to happen."
Dougie Hamilton's shot from the right point ricocheted off Red Wings forward Luke Glendenning, then hit Iginla and finally caromed off Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser before going past Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who started because Jimmy Howard had to sit out with the flu.
Boston, which trailed 2-0, became the ninth team in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs to win after overcoming a multiple-goal deficit, the most ever in the first round. It happened eight times in all of the 2013 playoffs. The Bruins are the 23rd team in the 31 games played this spring to win after trailing at some point during the game.
"Guys have been through it before in here and there's some great leadership; guys stepping up and saying to remain calm and work for that first goal before they get No. 3," Iginla said. "We were able to do that and fight our way back into it. It always feels awesome to be on the winning side of an OT game."
The Bruins also took a 3-1 series lead against Toronto last year by winning Game 4 in overtime on the road. The Maple Leafs won the next two games and had a 4-1 lead in the third period of Game 7 before Boston scored four unanswered goals for an unforgettable, series-clinching victory.
They would prefer not to go through as much drama this time.
"We've learned a lot of hard lessons in the past, like Toronto, and fortunately we were able to get out of that one and move on," said Bruins left wing Milan Lucic, whose goal at 1:15 of the third period tied the game 2-2. "Last year, we had Chicago down 2-1 [in the Stanley Cup Final] and we probably didn't play our best Game 4 and lost that in overtime and weren't able to recover after that. You don't want to do anything to give the other team life in a series."
The Red Wings had plenty of life early in Game 4 despite the fact that Howard, their No. 1 goalie, couldn't start the game. Gustavsson was told after warmups that he would be the starter, and he delivered with 37 saves.
Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg also delivered a boost in emotion and skill in his return to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 8.
Kronwall, whose girlfriend gave birth to a boy Thursday afternoon, scored a power-play goal 11 minutes into the first period. Datsyuk, whose wife gave birth to a girl on Wednesday, made it 2-0 when he scored off a pass from Kronwall 4:27 into the second.
"I thought we had a real good push at the start," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought [Tuukka] Rask was good and we could have been up more after on, but we weren't and they [the Bruins] stuck with it. I thought as the game went on we had more holes defensively."
Those holes started to show after Datsyuk scored. Eventually the Bruins poked through as Torey Krug scored a power-play goal off a deflected shot from the right point at 10:14 of the second.
Boston controlled the pace and the puck throughout the rest of the middle period and cashed in again early in the third when Lucic scored the game-tying goal at 1:15. It was a 200-foot play by the Bruins, who were simply faster than the Red Wings all the way up the ice.
Detroit pushed again late in the third period, at one point taking nine straight shots on goal during a seven-minute stretch. But the Bruins dominated the overtime, outshooting Detroit 12-3 and owning a major territorial advantage for most of the 13:32.
"They definitely took the game to us in the first, but I thought we came back in the second, we had some good chances in the third, big goal by [Lucic] and then I thought we had so many chances in overtime," Bruins center David Krejci said. "We were on the puck. We had so many chances and I thought we were a better team in overtime."
If they play the same way in Game 5 they'll likely be able to keep the drama quotient to a minimum and advance to play the Canadiens. The Bruins already know what can happen if they let up against a team on the brink, like the Red Wings are now.
"We were in this position last year, same thing, winning Game 4 in overtime in Toronto and we all know what happened after that," Lucic said. "So we're not taking anything for granted here. We all know how hard it is to close out a series, and we all know how desperate they're going to be heading into Saturday."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl