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Osgood, Wings are three wins away from Cup

Monday, 05.26.2008 / 11:47 AM ET / Features
By John Kreiser  - Columnist
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Osgood, Wings are three wins away from Cup

Chris Osgood may be close to finally getting the recognition he deserves as the Detroit goaltender is just three wins away from backstopping the Red Wings to their fourth Stanley Cup in 11 years. 
Maybe it's his size – he's listed generously at 5-foot-10 and 178 pounds. Maybe it's his mild-mannered demeanor, or the fact that he's been overshadowed by players like sure-fire Hall of Famer Dominik Hasek for much of his career.

Whatever the reason, Chris Osgood rarely gets his due.

But that could be about to change.
Osgood is three wins away from leading the Detroit Red Wings to their fourth Stanley Cup in 11 years. He didn't have to be great in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against Pittsburgh, but he was flawless, making 19 saves in the Wings' 4-0 victory.
Though the Wings gradually ground down the inexperienced Penguins, it was Osgood's early heroics that gave them the chance. The 35-year-old stopped all 12 first-period shots he faced and kept the Penguins off the scoreboard even though Pittsburgh had three straight power plays, forcing Osgood to make a handful of key saves.
"They were huge, especially in those shorthanded situations," team captain Nicklas Lidstrom said of Osgood's stops on the Penguins' power plays. "They had three or four power-play situations early, and he really shut the door."
Osgood rarely faces a barrage of shots. Playing for a team like the Red Wings, he's more often called upon to make a few key stops, rather than a bundle of brilliant ones, or keep his team in the game until it can take control, as he did on Saturday night.

RED WINGS lead 1-0

Sat, May 24: Red Wings 4, Penguins 0
Game Highlights |  Photo Gallery
Mon, May 26: Penguins @ Red Wings
8:00pm ET - VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Wed, May 28: Red Wings @ Penguins
8:00pm ET - NBC, CBC, RDS
Sat, May 31: Red Wings @ Penguins
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*Mon, June 2: Penguins @ Red Wings
8:00pm ET - NBC, CBC, RDS
*Wed, June 4: Red Wings @ Penguins
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*Sat, June 7: Penguins @ Red Wings
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Oh shoot! Samuelsson’s the Game 1 star
The Stanley Cup Final was supposed to be about stars like Sidney Crosby and Pavel Datsyuk. But in Game 1, it was little-hyped Mikael Samuelsson that stole the show. …more

Back to the drawing board
After getting outplayed over the final 40 minutes in a 4-0 loss to Detroit in the opener of the Stanley Cup Final, the Pittsburgh Penguins know they must make some fixes before Game 2 Monday. …more

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Blogs: Cup Final | Pens | Wings | Game 1

"Ozzie was the difference, he and the penalty killers," said forward Daniel Cleary, who scored a shorthanded goal late in the third period that gave the Wings a 3-0 lead.
Osgood enters Game 2 on Monday night (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio) three wins away from leading the Wings to a Stanley Cup in a year in which he began the playoffs on the bench. Though Osgood played slightly more than Hasek in the regular season, it was “The Dominator” who got the call in the playoffs. Osgood didn't get off the bench until early in the second period in Game 4 of the opening round, after the Nashville Predators had rallied to beat Hasek in Game 3 and scored three quick goals in Game 4.
Though Osgood was perfect the rest of the way, Nashville held on for a series-tying 3-2 win in Game 4. But Osgood won his next nine decisions as he led the Wings past the Predators, Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars to reach the Final for the first time since 2002.
"Ozzie's been overlooked all year," Cleary said following Game 1. "He made some huge saves when we needed him to. Tonight he got rewarded with a shutout. He made some huge saves early in the game on their power play and kept us alive. One we got up by one or two goals, he was good."
He's been good – actually far better than good – for most of his career. Osgood went 27-9-4 during the regular season with a 2.09 goals-against average, giving him 363 regular-season victories. He owns two Stanley Cup rings, one from 1998, when he equaled the League record with 16 playoff wins while leading the Wings to their second straight title. Saturday's win was his 49th playoff victory as a Red Wing – he broke Terry Sawchuk's franchise mark in the previous round against Dallas.
He did it with performances like Saturday's – coming up big when his team needed him most.
"If it wasn't for Ozzie, it could have been a different game," center Kris Draper said. "We were back on our heels a little bit. We got into penalty trouble … if he doesn't come up making those big saves, it's a different game."
Coach Mike Babcock also cited Osgood as a difference-maker.
"Ozzie made some real good saves, but the game can be totally different, and then we score first. Maybe if they score first, it's a different game for them,” Babcock said.
One thing that Osgood doesn't expect is an easy night in Game 2. He knows that the Penguins will come out even harder after losing the series opener.
"They're everything we expected," he said. "They made some beautiful plays, some nice plays, not only in front of me, but coming out of their zone – so we've got to be on top of our game. We had to play very, very well the last two periods and give it everything we've got just to win that game."




1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
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