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RED WINGS at BRUINS
(Boston leads best-of-7 series 3-1)
TV: NBC, RDS, TSN
Big story: The Boston Bruins have won three in a row to push the Detroit Red Wings to the brink of elimination. If the Red Wings are to advance, they'll somehow have to put the Bruins on their first three-game losing streak of this season.
The first period of Game 4 on Thursday was probably the Red Wings' best of the series, but all they had to show for it was a 1-0 lead. They made it 2-0 early in the second period but ended up losing 3-2 in overtime. Detroit will need three periods in Game 5 like the first one in Game 4 to have any chance of forcing this series back to Motown.
Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg likes his team's chances.
"I think it was a step forward though from the last two games," said Zetterberg, who made his series debut in Game 4. "It's a good team that we're playing. We knew it was going to be tight. Not surprising that the game went to overtime and it's a one-shot game there in the end. Unfortunately, they got it."
Red Wings: With the exception of the performance of backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, a late addition to the lineup because of a flu bug that bit Jimmy Howard, coach Mike Babcock was disappointed in his team's play in Game 4. Babcock was upset about Detroit's faceoff work (the Red Wings won 46 percent of the draws) and defensive play (Boston outshot Detroit 40-37, including 12-3 in overtime, after the Red Wings had a 15-5 advantage after one period).
Thursday marked the Stanley Cup Playoff debut for Gustavsson. He'll go right back into the fire Saturday.
"Gus is going to start," Babcock said Friday. "Obviously [Howard] wasn't able to practice today. I assume he'll be the backup."
Although Zetterberg and forward Todd Bertuzzi, who also made his series debut in Game 4, added some veteran leadership and contributed to the offense, the Red Wings' younger players struggled to find their game. They'll have to do it Saturday or they'll have a long summer to look for it.
Bruins: Boston is here again. The Bruins were up 3-1 in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against the Toronto Maple Leafs last spring. They lost Games 5 and 6, then had to come back from a 4-1 third-period deficit to tie the game before winning in overtime. Boston would like to avoid such theatrics this time around with the Montreal Canadiens waiting in the wings.
"It's been tough. All the games, they've been pretty close. Like I said, [Thursday night] was our toughest one in the series," forward Jarome Iginla said after he scored the game-winner in overtime in Game 4. "And that's the way it's supposed to be. It usually is as it goes on, each team gets a little bit more desperate.
"… Being up now, we want to close it out. There are no questions. We don't doubt that they're not going to come out really hard next game and we want to use some of that momentum. Actually, funny part about playoffs, there isn't as much momentum. It's just game by game. And we'll prepare and we want to be better in the first half than we were tonight."
Who's hot: Gustavsson stopped 37 of 40 shots in his first start of the series. Defenseman Nicklas Kronwall had a goal and an assist in Game 4. … Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton has one goal and two assists in his past two games. Forward Milan Lucic scored the tying goal Thursday and has two goals.
Injury report: Detroit forward Daniel Alfredsson (back) missed the past two games, but Babcock said he be back for Game 5. Howard (flu) missed Game 4. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (hand) remains out. … Boston forward Daniel Paille (head) has been cleared for practice and some contact. He's getting close to a return. Forward Chris Kelly (back) is not skating.