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Bruins bracing for Zetterberg's return

Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 1:20 PM

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer / Bruins-Red Wings series blog

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Bruins-Red Wings series blog
Bruins bracing for Zetterberg's return

DETROIT -- Acknowledge him, be aware of him, respect him, but don't change because of him.

That's how the Boston Bruins plan to approach the potential return of Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round series Thursday at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, NESN, FS-D).

Zetterberg, who hasn't played since Feb. 8 because of back surgery, will be a game-time decision for the Red Wings. He skated Thursday morning on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader, then left the arena to visit with the team doctors.

The Bruins lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

"In my mind he's going to be there [Thursday]. We expected that, so that's not a concern," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "The biggest thing here is they've got a real good player on their team. Where he is in his conditioning, I don't know. But at the same time, every playoff game has to be about your team; it can't be about the other team. We make adjustments to play against the other team, not the other individual, so that's not going to change for us."

If Zetterberg plays, the Bruins know they have to be wary of the lift his return will give the Red Wings and the fans.

"He's been out for a while, so if he does play it'll probably give them a bit of an emotional lift, but our game plan doesn't change from what it would be if he wasn't playing," Bruins forward Reilly Smith said. "Stick to what has been successful for us so far and try to come up with the same result we've had the last two games."

The Bruins lineup is likely to be the same in Game 4 as it was in Game 3, meaning forward Jordan Caron, who scored his first career goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday, will again be on the fourth line with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell, and Justin Florek will play on the third line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.

Forwards Chris Kelly (back) and Daniel Paille (upper body) remain out. Paille skated Thursday morning, but Julien said he's not ready to return. He hasn't played since leaving early in the game against the Buffalo Sabres on April 12.

"He was cleared to practice with us here, I think he's cleared to start getting a little bit of contact," Julien said. "Not in [Thursday], but he's inching toward the right side I would say."

Here are the projected lineups:

BRUINS

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith

Justin Florek - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Jordan Caron - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk

Torey Krug - Dougie Hamilton

Matt Bartkowski - Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Andrej Meszaros, Corey Potter

Injured: Daniel Paille (upper body), Chris Kelly (back), Adam McQuaid (groin), Dennis Seidenberg (knee)

RED WINGS

Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk - Justin Abdelkader

Johan Franzen - Darren Helm - Gustav Nyquist

Todd Bertuzzi - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Tatar

Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - David Legwand

Niklas Kronwall - Brendan Smith

Kyle Quincey - Danny DeKeyser

Brian Lashoff - Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratched: Tomas Jurco, Joakim Andersson, Xavier Ouellet

Injured: Daniel Alfredsson (upper body), Daniel Cleary (knee), Jonathan Ericsson (hand)

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