DETROIT – Well, those first ten minutes the Red Wings were worried about in Game 4’s first period went pretty well. In fact, the Wings played their best period in the series in the first frame tonight. Early on, Detroit had two great chances but missed the net. They were carrying the play. The return of captain, Henrik Zetterberg, was a big motivator for the Wings, and it showed.
Despite being outplayed by Detroit, the Bruins had the period’s best chances. Reilly Smith hit the post after a Pavel Datsyuk give-away, at about the halfway mark. Shortly thereafter, Justin Florek, was called for high-sticking Drew Miller of Detroit, and was given a four minute penalty. Four seconds later, the Red Wings had the lead and got their first power-play goal of the series. Niklas Kronwall scored on a slapshot, after a pass from Datsyuk, for a 1-0 Detroit lead. The Wings continued to put pressure on the Bruins in their end during the second half of the Florek penalty, but couldn’t double down.
“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.”
At about the fifteen minute mark, Brad Marchand, missed the first of his two empty net opportunities. Kevan Miller faked a slapshot and laid a beautiful pass to a wide open Marchand, who sort of let up on it and shot it wide. The Bruins got their first power-play of the night when Detroit’s Brandan Smith interfered with his brother, Reilly Smith, in the Wings zone. Nothing was made of the man advantage. The Wings outshot Boston 15-5 after one period of play. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask kept the Bruins in the game.
“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.”
Rask was the best player on the ice so far, as the teams started the second period. At 3:24, Gregory Campbell was denied by Jonas Gustavsson, who played in place of starting goalie Jimmy Howard. Howard sat out Game 4, after being on the line-up card, but was scratched after it was reported that he had the flu. About a minute later, at 4:27, Datsyuk scored to make it 2-0. Justin Abdelkader and Kronwall got the assists on Datsyuk’s second goal of the series.
The Bruins had a real good response after being down by two goals. Kevan Miller got an undeserved roughing penalty at 8:03, which was followed .13 seconds later by a call on Todd Bertuzzi for interfering with Zdeno Chara. With a small window of a power-play for the Bruins, Torey Krug blasted one by Gustavsson to cut the lead in half at 2-1. It was Krug’s first goal of the playoffs, and Patrice Bergeron got his third assist of the series, on Krug’s goal. Campbell went off for boarding Darren Helm at 13:14 but the Bruins had a successful kill this time. The Wings power-play was better tonight, going one for four on their chances, and getting five shots on net as well. The Bruins cut the lead in half and played a much better period. The persistent fore-checking of the Bruins seemed to wear down the defensemen as the game went along.
Milan Lucic scored just 1:15 into the third period to tie the game at 2-2. A beautiful pass from Carl Soderberg set up “Looch” for his second goal of the series. Dougie Hamilton also picked up a helper on the tying goal. The Krejci, Lucic, Jarome Iginla line got better as the game went on, and really had it going on in the third period. Carl Soderberg also seemed to upgrade his game as it moved along, with good possession plays and smart clear-ins. The Bruins were dominating and playing their heavy game, wearing down the Wings players. Marchand missed a huge wide open net at the halfway point of the period and Florek had one last chance as the period ended.
“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 Lucic. “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.”
Overtime began with a breakaway by Abdelkader, who was thwarted by Rask before the sudden death period was even a minute old. The Bruins completely dominated the overtime period, outshooting the Wings 12-3. The zone possession by the Bruins was ever present and it looked like they might be snake bitten, despite carrying the play.
“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.”http://
At the 13:32 mark of the first extra session, Dougie Hamilton took a pass from David Krejci, and shot it towards Gustavsson. The puck was deflected by Jarome Iginla and past the Wings netminder, for the overtime game winner. The Bruins win 3-2 and take three games to one lead over Detroit, with the series moving back to Boston on Saturday at 3:00 pm.
Todd Bertuzzi replaced Tomas Jurco in the Detroit line-up.
Jonas Gustavsson replaced Jimmy Howard, who had the flu.
Stars of the Game
#1 – Jarome Iginla
#2 – Pavel Datsyuk
#3 – Patrice Bergeron
It was Claude Julien’s 100th Career Playoff Game