Jarome Iginla's overtime winner gave the Boston Bruins a 3-1 series lead over the Detroit Red Wings. Postgame video by Peter Manderino, Bruins Daily
With a chance to take a commanding three games to one series lead, the Boston Bruins were expecting the Detroit Red Wings to play desperate hockey in Game 4.
Initially, the Red Wings came out with a surge thanks to the emotional lift from the return of their captain, Henrik Zetterberg, who hadn’t played since February due to a back injury. In the first twenty minutes, the team from “HockeyTown” grabbed a 1-0 lead thanks to Niklas Kronwall’s first of the playoffs 11 minutes in, enjoyed a 15-5 shots on goal advantage and had the ice tilted on their side.
Things started to change, however, after Pavel Datsyuk notched his second of the postseason at 4:27. As they continued to get stellar goaltending from Tuukka Rask (35 saves), the Bruins were able to get more pressure on Jonas Gustavsson - filling in for Jimmy Howard - and instead of chasing the Red Wings in the offensive end, they let the game come to them. Finally, Torey Krug got the B’s on the board midway through the second with his first of the postseason (on the power play).
From there, the Bruins, who had a plus-48 goal differential in the third period, wore the Wings out and grabbed control of the game. It took overtime to get it done after Milan Lucic tied the game early in the third period. The Black and Gold had several missed chances after that, including another whiff at an empty net by Brad Marchand. However, the B’s eventually got that 3-1 series lead midway through overtime.
“In the first period, they came out with a lot of emotion and energy and we kind of got caught running around a little bit,” said head coach Claude Julien, who coached his 100th career playoff game Thursday night. “Our guys kept battling through it. I thought the second period got a little bit better there after they took a 2-0 lead. I thought we settled down a little bit, started to play our game and started putting the puck in areas where we excel.”
“We just needed to remain calm and work for that first goal,” Jarome Iginla said in the postgame interviews while donning the Old Time Hockey jacket, awarded to the Bruins Player of the Game. “We were able to do that and fight our way back into the game.”
As it’s often said in the hockey community, good things happen when you throw pucks at the net. Even after some unlucky bounces, that sentiment held true for the Black and Gold.
Dougie Hamilton, who is really coming into his own in this first round, took a feed from David Krejci, and fired a shot towards Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson. Lucic was in front battling for position with Danny DeKeyser as was Iginla, who got a stick on Hamilton’s shot and redirected it past Gustavsson for his first of the postseason and the 3-2 overtime victory.
That wouldn’t have been possible if not for Rask’s performance. And his save in the opening moments of OT on Justin Abdlekader’s breakaway - the only shot by the Red Wings in the extra session - provided another spark for the B’s bench.
“They had a step on us and got the lead, but I thought we got better as the game went on and got rewarded there,” Rask told reporters afterwards. “They got the first shot on that breakaway [in overtime] and then I thought we took over. It’s one of those where you thought we’d score because we had chances, but they only had one shot against us. So it was one of those [feelings] where I hoped we put the puck in the net.”
With their season on the line in Game 5 on Saturday, the Red Wings’ desperation will deepen. The Bruins, meanwhile, will look to match the Wings resolve and move on to a second round matchup with the arch-rival Montreal Canadiens.
“Being up now, we want to close it out, no question,” Iginla said.