DETROIT (AP) — The Boston Bruins took a couple punches, then hit back hard and put the Detroit Red Wings on the brink of elimination.
Jarome Iginla scored with 6:28 left in overtime on a redirected shot that went off an opponent, lifting the Bruins to a 3-2 win over Detroit on Thursday night in Game 4 of their first-round series to finish off a comeback from a two-goal deficit.
“It was a bit ugly at times, but then we got our stuff together,” Tuukka Rask said after stopping 35 shots.
The Presidents’ Trophy winners and defending Eastern Conference champions can advance with a win against Detroit on Saturday at home.
“It’s not over yet,” said Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who appeared to be the last person to touch the puck on the game-winning goal. “We’ve just got to keep playing hard.”
If the Red Wings extend the best-of-seven series by winning at Boston, they will host Game 6 on Monday night.
Early in Game 4, a return to Joe Louis Arena appeared likely.
Detroit took a 2-0 lead in the second period after Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall each had a goal and an assist.
Torey Krug scored midway through the second period to pull the Bruins within a goal. Milan Lucic tied it at 2 early in the third period.
“I thought they got better as the game went on,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought we had a real good push at the start, but they stuck with it and as the game went on, we had more holes in us defensively.”
Detroit’s Jonas Gustavsson made 37 saves in a surprise start Thursday night, filling in for Jimmy Howard, who was out with the flu.
“Last second, he just couldn’t go,” Babcock said.
Iginla was credited with the winning goal, but seemed to get some help putting the puck in the net. Boston’s Dougie Hamilton sent a shot toward the net that Iginla deflected and the puck looked like it went off DeKeyser’s left leg before going in the net.
“It’s a playoff goal,” Gustavsson said after appearing in his first postseason game after playing in 141 games over five regular seasons. “That’s how you win games.”
Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg played for the first time since having back surgery two months ago. Zetterberg gave the crowd a jolt, leading to fired-up fans roaring when he was on the ice for his first shift, and seemed to also give his team a boost early in the game.
“It was fun to be back,” he said. “It would be a lot more fun to have a ‘W.'”
Later in the game, Zetterberg looked like a player who was still trying to get into game shape as he struggled to skate with world-class players.
“We knew that would probably be the case,” Babcock acknowledged.
The Red Wings got off to a strong start after falling behind 2-0 after the opening period of the previous two games and losing both by a combined score of 7-1.
Kronwall’s slap shot on a power play 11 minutes into the game put Detroit up 1-0, ending its 0-for-10 drought with an extra skater in the series.
Datsyuk scored for the first time since he had the game-winner in Game 1, shooting into an open net from the right side after Kronwall lightly tapped the puck to him.
Both Red Wings will have quite a story to tell their kids. Datsyuk’s wife had a girl on Wednesday and Kronwall’s girlfriend gave birth to a boy 8-plus hours before the puck dropped.
“Obviously, it was a big day for me, for me and my girl,” Kronwall said. “It’s something I’ll never forget, for sure. Rushed out of here, got there just in time to be there. Just holding your son for the first time, it’s a pretty special feeling.”
The Bruins looked as though they might be in trouble when they gave Detroit a power play midway through the second period, trailing by two, but Todd Bertuzzi was called for interference 13 seconds later. Boston made the most of the opportunity with Krug scoring from the top of the slot through traffic just before Bertuzzi could leave the penalty box.
Lucic scored his second goal of the series, taking advantage of the Red Wings being out of position in front of the net and teammate Carl Soderberg making a backhanded pass from behind the net.
“Detroit came out, and with Zetterberg coming back in their building, they were very hungry and were very good in the first period, maybe the first half of the game,” Iginla said. “But we stuck with it and that goal by Krugs was a huge goal.”
NOTES: Boston coach Claude Julien, a day after his 54th birthday, coached in his 100th playoff game. … Bertuzzi played for the first time this postseason, replacing Tomas Jurco, and stood in front of Rask to help Kronwall score in the first.
Follow Larry Lage on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/larrylage