The Boston Bruins made it to the Stanley Cup final a year ago and hope to follow that same path this season, but they would like to avoid another first-round detour. An overtime victory in Game 4 has the Bruins in position to close out their Eastern Conference series against the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon. Boston also held a 3-1 series lead after an overtime win at Toronto last season but dropped the next two before prevailing in a wild Game 7.
"We can end it tomorrow," Bruins coach Claude Julien told the media following Friday's practice. "The urgency and focus has to be there."
The Red Wings, buoyed by the return of captain Henrik Zetterberg to the lineup for the first time in 2 1/2 months, displayed such an urgency in Game 4 and jumped out to a 2-0 lead but were unable withstand Boston's relentless attack. Jonas Gustavsson, who made his playoff debut in place of a flu-ridden Jimmy Howard, will get his second straight start in the net.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN, RDS
ABOUT THE RED WINGS: The presence of Zetterberg, who underwent back surgery on Feb. 21 and had not played since Feb. 8, resulted in a dominant opening 20 minutes for Detroit in Game 4 - with only the sparkling play of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask keeping it close. The Red Wings are hoping the expected return to the lineup of veteran Daniel Alfredsson, who has missed the past two games with a back injury, will provide a similar lift as they try to claw out of a 3-1 series deficit and force a Game 6 in Detroit.
"We just have to go out and win one game and bring it back home to the Joe (Joe Louis Arena)," said Zetterberg, who has 114 points in 124 career playoff games. "That’s our mindset and attitude. Just play well."
ABOUT THE BRUINS: Boston received a fortunate bounce on Thursday's overtime goal by Jarome Iginla, which deflected off the leg of Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser. No player was happier to see the winning tally than Bruins forward Brad Marchard, who has missed three glittering wide-open nets in the series and shot wide on a gimme midway through the third period of Game 4.
"I think I gave him a huge kiss there. It was great to have Iggy score that goal. I'll be able to sleep good tonight," said Marchand, who remains scoreless in the series after netting 25 goals during the regular season. "You don't want to dwell on it too much. All I can really (do) now is bear down and next time I get a wide open net, hit it!"
1. Rask on Friday was named a Vezina Trophy finalist, which came as no surprise to Julien: "To me it's a no-brainer," the coach said.
2. Gustavsson, who had 37 saves in Game 4, beat the Bruins twice this season - including a 3-2 win in Boston on Oct. 14.
3. A victory will propel Boston into a second-round matchup with Atlantic Division rival Montreal.