DETROIT — Brad Marchand was in danger of getting little sleep. Those two empty nets, those two sterling chances, were haunting him as the Bruins were down, as they were tied, as they went to overtime. Two goals had been there for the taking, and he took neither.
So that was why when the Bruins scored at 13:32 of overtime Thursday night, off a Dougie Hamilton shot, a Jarome Iginla tip, and Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser’s leg, Marchand felt a wash of relief.
“I think I gave him a huge kiss,” Marchand said, laughing, of Iginla.
With the goal off a lucky bounce, the Bruins captured Game 4 by a 3-2 score, and headed back to Boston with a commanding 3-1 series lead. That means the Bruins can close out the Red Wings on Saturday afternoon in Game 5.
“It was a pretty fortunate goal, a fortunate bounce, an ugly one, but that’s how it seems a lot of those are in OT,” Iginla said. “But it felt great as a team because it was a tough game. They played well but we stuck with it, from the third period on we started to get better and get more consistent chances. It was nice to get that last bounce.”
Early on, it didn’t look like it would get that far. It was clear from the way the Red Wings had come out in the first period, putting 15 shots on Tuukka Rask, that they were desperate. The Bruins looked sluggish. The Red Wings, meanwhile, looked like they were on a mission.
But Rask turned them back, time after time, allowing just one first-period score after David Krejci lost a faceoff — his one faceoff loss of the period — and the puck found Niklas Kronwall, who let loose from just inside the blue line with Todd Bertuzzi providing a screen at 11:00. It was the first time in four games the Bruins had allowed a power-play goal.
Detroit added another goal at 4:27 of the second on a nice play by Kronwall to catch a puck in the air and feed it to Pavel Datsyuk.
But that was all the Red Wings would get.
“I thought after the first period we kind of settled down and started playing our game again,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “In the first period they came out with a lot of emotion and energy, and we kind of got running around a little bit.”
The Bruins, still, had a pair of excellent chances in the period. The first came at 10:21, with Reilly Smith getting the puck from Marchand and skating between two defensemen in the slot on his way to hitting the left post. And there was the first of Marchand’s misses, at 14:54 off a feed from Kevan Miller. He couldn’t put it away.
But then the Bruins started coming back, started changing the game, partly with improved play from a top line that had been nearly invisible in the first three games.
“Guys have been through it before in here and there’s some great leadership guys stepping up and saying to remain calm and work for that first goal before they get No. 3, and we were able to do that and fight our way back into it,” said Iginla, who scored his first career playoff overtime goal. “It always feels awesome to be on the winning side of an OT game.”
It started with a power-play goal at 10:14 of the second — scored with just two seconds remaining on the man advantage — as Torey Krug snapped off a shot off a faceoff win by Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins had been saved from a Miller roughing call by a Bertuzzi interference penalty 13 seconds later, and those 13 seconds of power-play time came in handy.
And then 1:15 into the third, the Bruins tied it. Lucic had stayed on at the end of a shift, leaving him in position to convert a beautiful pass from Carl Soderberg under the stick of Brian Lashoff from behind the net.
Up to that point in the game (and the series, really), Lucic and his line had been mostly quiet. Lucic had scored the backbreaking goal in Game 2, but that was it. Until the third period and overtime, that is.
So the Bruins returned to Boston the same way they had last year against Toronto, with three games won and a chance to end the series early. That series, of course, lasted until overtime in Game 7.
“We were in this position last year, same thing, winning Game 4 in overtime in Toronto, and we all know what happened after that,” Lucic said. “So we’re not taking anything for granted here. We all know how hard it is to close out a series, and we all know how desperate they’re going to be heading into Saturday.”