Detroit Red Wings: Storylines heading into Game 4

Detroit Red WingsThe Detroit Red Wings take a 2-1 series deficit into Game 4 against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, and expect head coach Mike Babcock to shuffle up his lines.

While Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall missed Wednesday’s skate for personal reasons (Datsyuk’s wife recently gave birth and Kronwall’s girlfriend is expected to give birth Wednesday), there were some familiar faces that haven’t received ice time in quite a while.

Todd Bertuzzi, who has been a healthy scratch this series, skated on a line with Justin Abdelkader and Henrik Zetterberg. Zetterberg plans to skate again on Thursday before any updates on his health will be addressed, but the Wings’ captain didn’t rule out the possibility of playing in Game 4.

“I’m going to have a good morning skate (Thursday),” Zetterberg said. “I appreciate that Pavel took the day off so I could actually have a skate today. It was the first real practice with the team, with the lines, so it felt good.”

Here are the rest of the lines that skated together Wednesday:

Tomas Tatar-Riley Sheahan-Tomas Jurco

Johan Franzen-Darren Helm-Gustav Nyquist

Drew Miller/Joakim Andersson-Luke Glendening-David Legwand

[Jimmy Howard is Red Wings’ X-factor]

Even the slightest possibility of Zetterberg returning to the lineup is teasing to Red Wings fans. He hasn’t played in a game since he withdrew from the Olympics and eventually undergoing lower-back surgery.

Babcock accused his team of “looking like kids” in Game 3’s loss, possibly hinting that there will be changes in the near future.

There’s no questioning the talent of Nyquist, Sheahan and Tatar, but should Babcock consider splitting the group up?

The trio played together for the majority of Game 3 but the Wings head coach mixed up his lines for the third period. Although it didn’t produce results on the scoreboard, Babcock didn’t shy away from continuing to do so in practice.

Whoever Babcock decides to send out together in Game 4, the offense needs to get it going.

Not only were the Wings down 2-0 after the first period but they were limited to just four shots on goal, something that needs to drastically change for the Wings to have a chance in this series.

The Red Wings found scoring opportunities in Game 1 by taking outside shots along the boards as they entered the zone. This was the only game this series that the speed of the Wings was effective.

Look for Detroit’s offense to utilize a similar strategy in Game 4, whether or not Babcock does indeed mix up his lines.

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