DETROIT — After a 1-0 victory in Game 1 on the road, the Red Wings were feeling pretty confident about their chances against the heavily favored Bruins.
But the next two games were lopsided in Boston’s favor, and after Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss at Joe Louis Arena, Detroit finds itself down, three games to one, and heading back to TD Garden for a Saturday afternoon matchup that could end the Red Wings’ season.
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall said Detroit’s approach going into Game 5 is to put it all on the line, no holding back.
The Wings are hoping to replicate for 60 minutes the way they played in building a 2-0 lead in the opening 30 minutes of Game 4.
“I always think that when you’re playing it the right way and you’re doing the things you should be doing out there, the game is a lot simpler,’’ said Kronwall, who scored the first goal Thursday night. “You get more energy from it. When you don’t play great, when you don’t do the right things out there, that’s when it gets tougher. For some reason, in the last half of the game we didn’t really take care of business, we didn’t play as structured as we did in the first half.’’
Although the Bruins scored three straight goals, it could have been a lot worse had winger Brad Marchand connected on any of his chances.
“I think Marchand missed at least two that were . . . I don’t know how he missed them,’’ said Kronwall. “There’s no doubt that we’re giving up too many chances. We have to tighten up things. We lose the puck in the wrong areas. The coverage in our defensive zone, I think it’s more where we lose the puck, up ice a lot of times.’’
It all comes down to execution Saturday and Kronwall said the Wings will give it all they have.
“We’ve got nothing to lose,’’ he said. “We’re going there to win one game. Guys have been down 3-1 before, it’s been done, so we’d like to be one of those teams.’’
Zetterberg ready to go
Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, who returned to action in Game 4 for the first time since February back surgery and gave his team a significant lift in the process, reported no ill effects from his 19 minutes and 34 seconds of ice time and he said he’s ready to play Saturday.
“I’m feeling good,’’ said Zetterberg, who along with linemate Pavel Datsyuk had the day off from skating. “It was fun to be out there and play a game finally. I think back-wise I felt good and I’m looking forward to [Saturday].’’
Zetterberg said he felt strong in the first and second periods but the long layoff caught up to him in third period and overtime.
“I think that was expected,’’ he said. “We tried to cap minutes but for an overtime game, that kind of went out the door. Obviously you want to play and you want to be out there.’’
Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, pushed into the starting role after warm-ups in Game 4 because Jimmy Howard was ill, will get the start in Game 5. Gustavsson had a 37-save performance against the Bruins in his first playoff game. Howard did not practice Friday . . . Veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson, who missed Games 3 and 4 with a back issue, practiced with the team and said he expects to be in the lineup for Game 5.
The Red Wings have lost 103 of 221 faceoffs in the series, and although that minus-15 margin doesn’t look significant, the more important the faceoff, the more Detroit seems to allow Boston to get puck possession.
Coach Mike Babcock said a lot of it is having inexperienced players on draws.
“It doesn’t happen overnight,’’ said Babcock. “When you’re a team that has a ton of kids, and you need them to be big parts like we do, it’s different than being one on a line. We need these guys to be the guys, they got us in the playoffs, these kids.’’
The Red Wings are consistently working on faceoffs but the Bruins have made it difficult in the series.
“We try to help them every day, we go over and over and over it,’’ said Babcock. “We show them tendencies but the problem against Boston is they have some good faceoff guys. If you’re [Luke] Glendening, [you’re thinking], ‘Coach keeps putting me out there against [Patrice] Bergeron. He’s one of the best players in the world.’ If [Datsyuk] goes in there, then it’s 50-50. In saying all that, though, what’s my other option? Glenny is mentally tough, he’ll dig in and find a way. Hopefully, it’s sooner than later. Same thing with Riley Sheahan. They’ve got to figure out a way to have the puck instead of chasing it.’’