BOSTON -- Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock confirmed Saturday that forward Daniel Alfredsson is scheduled to play against the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round on at TD Garden (3 p.m. ET; NBC, RDS, TSN).
Alfredsson replaces Todd Bertuzzi.
Babcock also said goaltender Jimmy Howard will return to the lineup to back up starter Jonas Gustavsson and defenseman Xavier Ouellet will replace Jakub Kindl.
The Red Wings will try to avoid elimination, down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series.
Alfredsson missed the past two games because of a back injury. He was without a point in the first two games of the series. Babcock said he believes the veteran is ready to contribute on the ice and off.
“I mean the player’s got to be healthy enough to skate. We talk about leadership. Leadership, I mean sure saying the right things is important, but playing right is way more important,” Babcock said. “If you can’t skate, you can’t play. And so we’ve gone through this for a while. Any of these back injuries where they get the shooting pain down their legs makes it hard for you to skate. And when you’re a little bit concerned and you don’t get involved, it makes it hard. Alfie skated hard [Friday] in practice. Probably as good as he’s skated in a long time. And so we put him in.”
Kindl is without a point and a minus-2 through four games. Ouellet has no experience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Babcock said he liked what he saw in the rookie’s four NHL games in the regular season. Ouellet didn’t have a point in those games but landed four shots on net and threw seven hits. He had four goals and 17 points in 71 games for Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League
“He’s a real smart player. He’s played well when he’s been up,” Babcock said. “We’ve liked him. So we’re making the change because we felt we needed to make a change.”
Howard missed Game 4 because of the flu. Babcock said the goaltender is well enough to at least sit on the bench.
Here are the projected lineups:
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 – Dougie Hamilton
Matt Bartkowski – Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller
Henrik Zetterberg – Pavel Datsyuk – Justin Abdelkader
Johan Franzen – Darren Helm – Daniel Alfredsson
David Legwan – Luke Glendening – Drew Miller
Tomas Tatar – Riley Sheahan – Gustav Nyquist
Nicklas Kronwall – Brendan Smith
Kyle Quincey – Danny DeKeyser
Xavier Ouellet – Brian Lashoff