BOSTON (CBS) — The captain is coming back early.


Henrik Zetterberg, who originally planned to make his return to game action in the second round of the playoffs, will return tonight in Game 4 to help his Red Wings try to even the series, so long as he gets the OK from team doctors.

Zetterberg, who ramped up his skating intensity on the off day on Wednesday, skated alongside Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader. His spot on that top line at the morning skate was a major indication that he’ll be playing when the puck drops on Game 4 at 8 p.m.

Head coach Mike Babcock said after the skate that he expects Zetterberg to play, though he’s officially a game-time decision. Team doctors need to sign off on Zetterberg’s health before he’s considered a full go.

Johan Franzen had been skating on that top line, but he moved to the second line at the morning skate, with Darren Helm and Gustav Nyquist.

Zetterberg, the Detroit captain underwent back surgery in February after flying home early from the Olympics in Sochi, and he hasn’t played in a game for the Red Wings since Feb. 8. The Red Wings said prior this first-round series against the Bruins that Zetterberg would not return until the second round, but with the Red Wings’ ability to make it that far now in question, the 33-year-old doesn’t want to wait and watch any longer.

The captain’s probable return is not the only lineup change for Detroit.

Daniel Alfredsson, who missed Game 3 due to injury, did not skate Thursday morning and won’t play again in Game 4, while Todd Bertuzzi will make his 2014 playoff debut. The Red Wings have had trouble penetrating the Bruins’ defense, and Bertuzzi’s size and strength should help in that area.

Tomas Jurco, who has six shots on net and a minus-1 rating in the three games of this series, will be the odd man out of the lineup for Game 4. Joakim Andersson, who played in Game 3 due to Alfredsson’s absence, will be a scratch if Zetterberg is cleared by doctors.


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