The Detroit Red Wings will be hoping to get a huge boost tonight as they try to tie their series with the Boston Bruins.
Captain Henrik Zetterberg, who has missed more than two months with a back injury, is attempting to return to the Red Wings line-up for Game 4 tonight at Joe Louis Arena.
TSN's Sheri Forde reported that Zetterberg was taking rushes alongside Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader at the Wings' Thursday morning skate. Head coach Mike Babcock said that he was encouraged with the skate and after Zetterberg visits with team doctors there will be a decision at pre-game warmups.
The Wings currently trail their first round series with the Bruins 2-1.
Zetterberg last played for Detroit on Feb. 8, the team's final game before the NHL went on hiatus for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. In 45 games this season, Zetterberg scored 16 goals and 32 assists.
His potential return bodes well for a Red Wings squad that has struggled to score in this series. Detroit has just two goals in three games and has failed to convert on all nine of its chances with the man advantage.
"I don't think there's ever anything wrong with losing when you maximize your group and did everything you could," said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. "That's why that's disappointing to me. We've been a way better team than that. That's unacceptable. And that's not taking away anything from the Bruins."
The Red Wings will play a second straight game without Daniel Alfredsson, who is dealing with an upper-body injury. The 41-year-old forward had no points over the first two games in this playoff series, his first for a team other than the Ottawa Senators.
Babcock told reporters that Alfredsson is likely to be ready to play for Saturday's Game 5 back in Boston.
Alfredsson had 100 points (51 goals, 49 assists) in 123 postseason games with the Sens, who he had spent his entire NHL career with before signing with Detroit last summer.
Joakim Andersson replaced Alfredsson in the lineup for Game 3. He was minus-1 with no shots on goal in 8 minutes, 17 seconds of ice time.
Boston lost the opener of this best-of-seven series on home ice by a 1-0 score, but the Presidents' Trophy winners outscored Detroit by a combined 7-1 margin in taking both Games 2 and 3 in convincing fashion.
After notching a 4-1 home win in Sunday's Game 2, Boston hit the road to record Tuesday's 3-0 triumph in the Motor City. If the Bruins can pick up another win tonight in Detroit they would have a chance to win the series on home ice in Saturday's Game 5.
Tuukka Rask made 23 saves to record his fourth career shutout in the playoffs for the Bruins, who outshot Detroit 11-4 in the first period and 34-23 in the game.
"It's really good team defense," said Rask. "I don't think we've given them that many scoring chances. Today, they had four shots for a long time in the game. They had the power plays and a couple of shots and got the momentum there, but we were good at limiting their scoring chances."
Dougie Hamilton, Jordan Caron and Patrice Bergeron scored for Boston, which won at Joe Louis Arena for the first time since March 11, 2007, halting a four-game slide in Motown.
Tuesday's test also was the first playoff meeting between the Bruins and Red Wings in Detroit since April 4, 1957. Boston also beat the Wings in that meeting over a half-century ago to win the Stanley Cup semifinals in five games.
Jimmy Howard stopped 31-of-33 shots for the Red Wings on Tuesday.
Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski returned to the lineup in Game 3 after missing the first two games due to illness. Bartkowski failed to reach the scoresheet, but he did eat up 18:34 of ice time for Boston head coach Claude Julien.
Standing on the moon with nothing left to do
A lovely view of heaven but I'd rather be with you