Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard was a last-minute scratch from Game 4 due to the flu, per the Detroit News' Ted Kulfan. He didn't practice Friday and isn't expected to play.
It's being reported that hockey analyst Aaron Ward said during a TSN Radio appearance on Friday that he's "not convinced" that Howard has the flu, speculating that the goaltender might have been concussed after a Carl Soderberg knee to the head during a goalmouth scrum in Game 3.
The Impact So Far: 7/10
Going into Game 4, it looked like the most important injuries to impact the Red Wings would be the loss of Daniel Alfredsson, who missed Games 3 and 4 with back pain, or the unexpected return of Henrik Zetterberg, who rejoined the team on Thursday after back surgery of his own back in February. But the timing of Howard's injury looms largest of all. He stole Game 1 of the series for the Red Wings, who need every advantage they can get against the potent Presidents' Trophy-winning Bruins.
Jonas Gustavsson played well on Thursday, but not quite well enough for the win. The Wings built a 2-0 lead in Game 4 before Boston mounted their comeback, eventually winning the game on a lucky goal in overtime.
The Impact Looking Forward
If "The Monster" can't backstop Detroit to a win in Boston on Saturday, Howard will get all the time he needs to get healthy. The Bruins have won three straight games and have pushed the Red Wings to the brink of elimination.
Injuries have been the story in Detroit all season long. Howard alone has missed action during the year with hand, knee and hip flexor injuries, per The Hockey News. He delivered subpar regular-season numbers with a 2.66 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.
As hoped, Howard tightened up with a 2.02 goals-against and .931 save percentage through the first three games of the playoffs before being sidelined. The Wings will have to rely on Gustavsson and take it one game at a time to have any hope at all of advancing.