National Hockey League
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      ***** National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network *****
                              Thursday, April 24th
                              (All times Eastern)
 ( - The Boston Bruins will try to take a commanding 3-1 lead
 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Thursday, as they shoot for a third
 straight victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena.
 Boston lost the opener of this best-of-seven series on home ice by a 1-0
 score, but the Presidents' Trophy winners outscored Detroit by a combined 7-1
 margin in taking both Games 2 and 3 in convincing fashion.
 Detroit, however, could get a boost in Game 4 with the possible return of
 captain Henrik Zetterberg. The Swedish forward has been sidelined since
 undergoing back surgery on Feb. 21, but he returned to practice earlier this
 week and could be activated before this evening's game.
 "The good thing is it's not in my corner. I've got to be cleared by the
 doctor," said Zetterberg, who practiced on a line with Justin Abdelkader and
 Todd Bertuzzi at Wednesday's practice.
 Despite playing in on only 45 games this season, Zetterberg was only one point
 behind Daniel Alfredsson and Niklas Kronwall for Detroit's scoring lead.
 Zetterberg recorded 48 points on 16 goals and 32 assists in 2013-14 and has
 notched 114 points (55 goals, 59 assists) over 123 career playoff games.
 After notching a 4-1 home win in Sunday's Game 2, Boston hit the road to
 record Tuesday's 3-0 triumph in the Motor City. If the Bruins can pick up
 another win tonight in Detroit they would have a chance to win the series
 on home ice in Saturday's Game 5.
 Tuukka Rask made 23 saves to record his fourth career shutout in the playoffs
 for the Bruins, who outshot Detroit 11-4 in the first period and 34-23 in the
 "It's really good team defense," said Rask. "I don't think we've given them
 that many scoring chances. Today, they had four shots for a long time in the
 game. They had the power plays and a couple of shots and got the momentum
 there, but we were good at limiting their scoring chances."
 Dougie Hamilton, Jordan Caron and Patrice Bergeron scored for Boston, which
 won at Joe Louis Arena for the first time since March 11, 2007, halting a
 four-game slide in Motown.
 Tuesday's test also was the first playoff meeting between the Bruins and Red
 Wings in Detroit since April 4, 1957. Boston also beat the Wings in that
 meeting over a half-century ago to win the Stanley Cup semifinals in five
 Jimmy Howard stopped 31-of-33 shots for the Red Wings on Tuesday.
 Detroit went 0-for-3 on the power play in the Game 3 loss and has failed to
 score on all nine of its chances with the man advantage in this series.
 "I don't think there's ever anything wrong with losing when you maximize your
 group and did everything you could," said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.
 "That's why that's disappointing to me. We've been a way better team than
 that. That's unacceptable. And that's not taking away anything from the
 The Red Wings played Tuesday without Alfredsson, who is dealing with an upper-
 body injury and is questionable for Game 4. The 41-year-old forward had no
 points over the first two games in this playoff series, his first for a team
 other than the Ottawa Senators.
 Alfredsson had 100 points (51 goals, 49 assists) in 123 postseason games with
 the Sens, who he had spent his entire NHL career with before signing with
 Detroit last summer.
 Joakim Andersson replaced Alfredsson in the lineup for Game 3. He was minus-1
 with no shots on goal in 8 minutes, 17 seconds of ice time.
 Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski returned to the lineup in Game 3 after
 missing the first two games due to illness. Bartkowski failed to reach the
 scoresheet, but he did eat up 18:34 of ice time for Boston head coach Claude
 ( - After losing the first two games of the series, the
 Minnesota Wild will try to pull even in the Western Conference quarterfinals
 when they host the Colorado Avalanche in Thursday's Game 4 at Xcel Energy
 The Wild, owner of the first of the West's two wild card spots, lost Game 1 in
 Denver by a 5-4 score in overtime and then dropped a 4-2 decision in
 Saturday's second meeting. However, Minnesota was able to avoid falling into a
 3-0 hole by recording a 1-0 overtime win in Monday's Game 3 clash in St. Paul.
 Mikael Granlund scored the lone goal of Monday's game 5:08 into the extra
 session, converting a highlight-reel tally to lift the Wild to their first win
 of this best-of-seven series.
 Granlund skated the puck behind the net and to the right boards where he
 fought off a check. Powering his way to the front, Granlund was able to sweep
 the puck into the left side of the net while falling to the ice.
 It was the first career playoff tally for the 22-year-old Finnish forward.
 "Well, it would have been nice to get a couple of more goals," said Minnesota
 head coach Mike Yeo. "The part where I give my guys credit is that they were
 tough enough to stay with it and not get frustrated."
 Darcy Kuemper, making his first-ever playoff start, turned away all 22 shots
 for the shutout. Ilya Bryzgalov started the first two games in net for
 Minnesota, but was pulled in Game 2 and replaced by Kuemper as the starter on
 "It had that feeling that one goal was going to be the difference," said
 Kuemper. "My teammates played amazingly and made things a lot easier for me. I
 just tried to stay focused and keep the pucks away when they got close."
 Semyon Varlamov made 45 saves for the Avalanche, who went 0-for-4 on the power
 "They played with more urgency than we did," said Colorado head coach Patrick
 Roy. "They, without a doubt, were more hungry than us tonight."
 In addition to suffering their first setback of the series, the Avalanche also
 lost key defenseman Tyson Barrie for four-to-six weeks with a sprained medial
 collateral ligament in his left knee. The offensive-minded blueliner suffered
 the injury after a nasty knee-on-knee hit from Minnesota forward Matt Cooke.
 Cooke was only assessed a minor for kneeing Barrie during the game, but he was
 hit by the league with a seven-game suspension on Wednesday. The 35-year-old
 Cooke has been suspended six previous times for various offenses during his
 15-year NHL career, with the last coming in the spring of 2011. That was a 17-
 game ban (10 regular-season games and the entirety of the Penguins' first-
 round series against Tampa Bay) for a blatant elbow to the head of Rangers
 defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
 Despite his history of supplemental discipline, Cooke is not considered a
 "repeat offender" from a financial standpoint since his last suspension
 occurred more than 18 months ago.
 Barrie, 22, was second among Colorado defenseman with 38 points in 64 games
 this season and he paced the Avs blue line with 13 goals. The youngster had
 two assists and was a plus-three in this series before exiting Monday's game.
 The Avs will replace Barrie with Ryan Wilson, who had six assists in 28 games
 with Colorado in 2013-14. Wilson has one assist in four career playoff tilts.
 While the Avs try to get by without Barrie, Colorado rookie forward Nathan
 MacKinnon hopes to return to the scoresheet in Game 4 after getting shut out
 on Monday.
 MacKinnon, the No. 1 overall pick in last summer's draft, notched seven points
 (1 goal, 6 assists) over the first two games of this series, matching an NHL
 record for most points in the first two games of a playoff career. In Game 3,
 however, the 18-year-old was limited to three shots in just over 22 minutes of
 Colorado is expected to insert forward prospect Joey Hishon into the lineup
 for his NHL debut in Game 4. Hishon, the 17th overall pick of the 2010 draft,
 was recalled from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League on Tuesday. The 22-
 year-old had 10 goals and 14 assists in 50 games with the Monsters during the
 2013-14 AHL regular season.
 If Colorado can win tonight, the Central Division champions will get a chance
 to close the series Saturday on home ice.
 ( - The San Jose Sharks will try to wrap up the Western
 Conference quarterfinals in a sweep, as they visit the Los Angeles Kings for
 Thursday's Game 4 battle at Staples Center.
 After scoring 13 times in taking both Games 1 and 2 on home ice by lopsided
 margins, the Sharks were forced to work a bit harder Tuesday night in Los
 Angeles for a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. San Jose pulled out a 4-3
 overtime victory in Game 3 to push Los Angeles to the brink of elimination.
 Patrick Marleau scored 6:20 into OT to hand the Sharks a commanding lead in
 this rematch of last spring's conference semifinals, which Los Angeles won in
 seven games. The home team won all seven meetings in the 2013 playoff matchup,
 and San Jose kept that trend going in Games 1 and 2 before picking up a road
 victory on Tuesday.
 Including the playoffs, Los Angeles had won eight straight and 10 of its last
 11 home games against the Sharks entering Game 3. The Kings hope to get back
 on track at home on Thursday, as they try to stay alive and force a Game 5
 meeting Saturday in San Jose.
 On the deciding goal, the puck was bouncing around in the Los Angeles end and
 Marleau wound up with it on his stick. Throwing a backhand on net from the
 left circle, it tipped off the stick of Slava Voynov and fooled Jonathan Quick
 to end the game.
 It was the 60th career playoff goal for Marleau and his third marker of this
 series. The victory also extended San Jose's streak of winning playoff OT
 games to five.
 Tomas Hertl, Matt Nieto and Brent Burns all scored for the Sharks, who got 28
 saves from Antti Niemi in the victory.
 "I just told our guys to settle down, play the way we know how," said San Jose
 head coach Todd McLellan. "We got caught out in pieces a lot. Tired players
 did not manage the neutral zone real well. They had the bat in their hands and
 they were going to swing it and they had us on their heels but sometimes it
 goes that way, we will take that break."
 Marian Gaborik, Jeff Carter and Jarret Stoll each lit the lamp for the Kings,
 who were outshot 40-31 in the loss. Quick turn aside 36 shots in defeat.
 "Not quite enough tonight," said Los Angeles head coach Darryl Sutter. "I
 thought we played a pretty good hockey game. We were pretty good tonight and
 so were they."
 In order to move on to the second round, the Kings now have to make NHL
 history. Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders and 2010
 Philadelphia Flyers have won a best-of-seven series after dropping the first
 three games.
 Of course, Kings forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards were both members of
 the 2010 Flyers team that came back to beat Boston in the conference
 semifinals after losing the first three games. Carter, however, missed that
 historic series with a broken foot before returning later in the playoffs to
 help Philadelphia make a surprise run to the Cup Finals.
 "Just play each game and don't worry about what's ahead of you," Richards said
 after Tuesday?s loss placed the Kings in a seemingly insurmountable hole. "We
 just have to have a mindset of winning the next game and going from there."
 The Sharks recorded their first playoff sweep a little less than a year ago
 when they won four straight to eliminate Vancouver in the opening round of the
 2013 playoffs.
 L.A. hasn't been swept out of the postseason since dropping all four games
 against Detroit in the 2000 Western Conference quarterfinals.
 04/24 11:06:31 ET