Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson was a surprise starter for the Red Wings in Thursday night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Bruins.
No one should be shocked to learn that the 6′-3″ ‘tender will be back between the pipes for Saturday’s must-win Game 5 in Boston (3 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN).
Gustavsson was forced into action after Jimmy Howard was overcome by flu-like symptoms during warm-ups. The 29-year-old responded with 37 saves in his NHL playoff debut, including 11 in OT.
That was good enough for coach Mike Babcock, who announced his decision after Friday morning’s team skate. Howard wasn’t well enough to take part, but Babcock said he expected him to be able to serve as Gustavsson’s backup.
Babcock also said he believes that Henrik Zetterberg and Daniel Alfredsson will play on Saturday. Zetterberg skated north of 19 minutes in his return from back surgery in Game 4, about seven minutes more than expected, but was seen doing stretching exercises during TV timeouts. Alfredsson has missed the past two games with back troubles of his own. Neither player is anywhere close to 100 percent, but with the season on the line, their veteran presence offers value that the team’s struggling youngsters can’t match.