DETROIT >> The status of Henrik Zetterberg for Game 4 Thursday night won’t be known until game time, but there’s one player that’s for sure making his playoff debut … Todd Bertuzzi.
Bertuzzi is replacing Tomas Jurco in the lineup.
“Well, he’s a big, heavy body,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s interesting, you’re talking about scoring goals, to me, the things that they did better than us was they played better defense than us. They kept us on the outside, they were quicker, they skate us.”
Since winning Game 1, 1-0, the Wings have been outscored by the Boston Bruins 7-1.
“We talk about being quicker than them, they were quicker than us the last game for sure,” Babcock said. “They were harder and more detailed to play against. We weren’t any of those things so we need to be good defensively. If we’re good defensively we’ll have the puck way more than we did last game. Last game we lost the puck all the time, we were random on our sort-outs, we weren’t hard to play against. If you don’t play well without it you don’t have it very much and you don’t get to play with it.”
Bertuzzi will skate with Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar.
Jurco had no points, six shots and was a minus-1 in the first three games of the series, averaging just under 13 minutes of ice time.
“It was three kids playing together and it wasn’t going as well I would have liked,” Babcock said. “I didn’t think we spent enough time in the offensive zone with that group and I’m hoping that one veteran player can help them out. In saying that, we’re taking out Jurco who’s got great speed and plays real well and why would you do that? You know what, that’s a good question and I asked myself that one hundred times yesterday and then just before I started to fall asleep I was thinking about it again. So I didn’t sleep well. I don’t know. I’m trying to do the right thing.”
In 86 career playoff games, Bertuzzi has 14 goals and 28 assists.
“I’m just going to go in there and do what I can to help out,” Bertuzzi said. “It’s a completely different season compared to regular season. It’s exciting, it’s fun. The city is involved, especially being a little bit older you appreciate it a little bit more.”
However in the Wings’ last two playoff run he’s got no points and is a minus-7 in 11 games.
“You got to be a team player, no point in complaining or being a bad teammate around the guys,” Bertuzzi said when asked if it’s tough sitting out. “You’ve got to support them and prepare yourself to get in.”
Bertuzzi played with his two linemates in the regular season finale in St. Louis.
“I’m comfortable with them, I like playing with them,” Bertuzzi said. “They’re fun, they’re high-tempo, they hold onto the puck, it’s all about puck possession. I’m just going to try to create some space for them.”
Joakim Andersson is the other healthy scratch.