Three Questions: Wings-Sabres
DRW.com analyzes the Wings' 79th game
The Wings started to control the game in the second period, but it took a while to find the back of the net. The Sabres kept one of the most dangerous power-play units in hockey at bay simply by staying out of the penalty box. But as soon as the Wings got the man-advantage, they struck, and they never looked back. The first goal of the contest came from an unlikely source in Brad Stuart, who scored his second goal of the season on a rare power-play opportunity. Late in the second period, Stuart took a pass from Marian Hossa, and wound up for a slapshot at the middle of the Buffalo blue line. With Tomas Holmstrom doing his best to screen goaltender Ryan Miller, Stuart’s blast found it’s way through a crowd, and snuck between Miller’s arm and his waist to give the Wings the lead, and they never looked back. The Wings scored three third period goals to put the game away.
How did Chris Osgood play?
It was a goaltender duel Monday night, and Wings’ netminder Chris Osgood prevailed over Miller, the former Michigan State star. Osgood, who coach Mike Babcock said would be his starter in the playoffs, picked up his second straight win in as many days. It was a significant win for Osgood, as he moved into a tie with former teammate Dominik Hasek for tenth on the NHL all-time wins list with 389 victories. Osgood made 32 saves on the evening, in a rare game where the Wings failed to outshoot their opponent. He was also the key contributor in holding the Sabres scoreless on four power plays, which may have won the game for the Wings.
Who was the Wings’ player of the game?
Marian Hossa helped the Wings pull away late, scoring two third period goals, but he was also responsible for the Wings’ first power play opportunity. Using his impressive speed and strength, Hossa took a lap around the Buffalo zone with the puck. He ended up drawing a holding call on Maxim Afinogenov at the Sabres’ blue line, and then set up Stuart for the goal on the power play. His goals were impressive as well, with him finishing off two team plays. His first goal of the night, his 39th of the season, featured him grabbing a rebound from a Nicklas Lidstrom point shot, and wrapping it around Miller. On his 40th of the night, he finished off a passing play between Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk with a quick snap of the wrists to blast the puck in.