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Hank passes first test, readies for more

A day after making his series debut, a pain-free Zetterberg says he's in Game 5 lineup

Saturday, 04.26.2014 / 10:26 AM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Hank passes first test, readies for more
Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg had no points, one shot and a plus-1 rating while logging more than 19 minutes of ice time in Game 4. (Photo by Getty Images)

BOSTON – The test wasn’t so much the game but how he felt the next day.

Henrik Zetterberg did not practice Friday after he played more than 19 ½ minutes in his playoff series debut a day earlier, but he was glad to report no acute or chronic pain in his lower back.

“I’m feeling good. It was fun to be out there, play a game finally,” said Zetterberg, who underwent surgery in late February to alleviate debilitating nerve pain. “I think back-wise I felt good today. I’m looking forward to (Saturday).”

Zetterberg said he plans to play in Game 5 at TD Garden, where the Red Wings, trailing three games to one to the Boston Bruins, face elimination in their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.

The Red Wings definitely rallied around Zetterberg’s return in Game 4, especially at the start when they played their best period of the series, out-shooting the Bruins 14-5 and taking a 1-0 lead into the intermission.

“We did a lot of good things, but in the same way we went away from it too to many times,” the Red Wings captain said. “When you’re playing a team like Boston that’s really structured and they play the same way for the whole game, we have to do the same thing. We have to realize we’ve got to stick to our structure, play well and don’t give them any free chances because they’re not giving us any.”

As for his back, Zetterberg was happy with how it held up in the most physical game of the series. The Montreal Canadiens had 94 hits in their first-round series sweep of Tampa Bay. The Wings and Bruins equaled that number in Game 4.

“First and second was better than the third and overtime. That was expected,” said Zetterberg, who had no points, one shot and a plus-1 rating. “We tried to have cap minutes, but when overtime came that kind of went out the door. You want to play. You want to be out there. I felt good enough to go out in overtime. Unfortunately we didn’t get the result we wanted to but today’s a new day.”

Now that he’s pain-free, Zetterberg’s next step is to propel the Red Wings’ offense off the starting line. Detroit has scored just four playoff goals on Boston goalie Tuukka Rask, who on Friday was named as a finalist for the league’s Vezina Trophy.

“It’s tough to score in the playoffs and especially when you play against a team like this that plays good defense,” Zetterberg said. “We have to go into the tough areas and be there for the second chances. Their goalie has been playing well. But there are rebounds and pucks laying around there in the crease.”

Playing structured, simple and without pressure is a recipe the Red Wings hope to use Saturday to extend the series to a sixth game in Detroit on Monday. The Wings know how difficult an opponent can be to close out, as they experienced that pain last spring when Chicago became the 25th team in league history to rebound from a 3-1 series deficit.

“We know it’s tough to get the fourth one. That’s the toughest one to get,” Zetterberg said. “We played really well in the first one in Boston. We just have to go out and win one game and bring it back home to The Joe. That’s our mindset and attitude. Just play well.”

TV NOTE: Thursday’s Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena averaged 1.056 million viewers on the NBC Sports Network, making it the channel’s most-watched, non-elimination game in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The previous such record was set on April 22, 2011, when Game 5 of the opening-round series between Buffalo and Philadelphia averaged 931,000 viewers.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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