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Osgood needs to ramp up his game now

Monday, 12.7.2009 / 12:20 PM ET / Features
By Mike G. Morreale
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Osgood needs to ramp up his game now
Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood knows it's more about how you finish than how you start the regular-season.

But by his own admission, he may have to rethink that strategy for 2009-10.

Saturday, Osgood was in goal for the Red Wings' 4-3 shootout loss in New Jersey. The game was Osgood's fourth start in 13 games. For the season, the 37-year-old veteran is 6-5-5 with a 2.75 goals-against average and .896 save percentage -- not scintillating numbers, but not too bad either.

"For me, personally, I've got to get to the level I've been in the playoffs for this team right now," Osgood said. "Last year we were so far ahead I didn't have to, but the position we're in now, I've got to get to that level now, and continue it through the rest of the regular season. I mean, we're going to get to a point here where there're 30 games left and it's going to be a dogfight. I've got to start stealing games and playing like I did in the playoffs."

It's hard to argue the fact that when Osgood is in playoff form, there are few better. During Detroit's run to the Stanley Cup in 2008, Osgood finished 14-4 with three shutouts, a 1.55 GAA and .930 save percentage in 19 appearances. Even last spring, the three-time Stanley Cup champion performed admirably with a 15-8 mark, two shutouts, 2.01 GAA and .926 save percentage in 23 games.

For his 16-season career, "Ozzie," whose hockey hero growing up was Edmonton's Grant Fuhr, sports a 74-49 record, 2.09 GAA and .916 save percentage in 129 Stanley Cup playoff games. If Osgood is able to find the postseason magic in the regular season, the Wings should be primed to make a nice run down the stretch with both he and Jimmy Howard (8-5-1, 2.55 GAA, .910 save percentage) in the fold.

Osgood said he'd like to start playing more after missing much of November with an illness -- about the same time when Howard went on a little streak to assume the No. 1 role.

"It's awesome for Jimmy," Osgood said. "It was a blessing in disguise when I got sick and Jimmy got to go in and play real well. We're going to need Jimmy to be there. We've got a lot of games. I'm behind Jimmy 100 percent just as the rest of the team is."

A year ago, the Wings had pretty much wrapped up a playoff spot by the time Christmas rolled around. This season, with the departure of several key components in the off-season and the injuries the club has had to withstand, the Wings sit ninth in the Western Conference with 14 wins and 33 points.

"I just have to keep myself ready," Osgood said. "Ever since I was sick, I haven't played a heck of a lot, but I played a lot early. You obviously would like to play to get into a rhythm, but at the same time you have to stay ready regardless. It's all about winning and right now we're out of the playoffs."

Osgood, who's averaged 45.3 games per season since entering the League in 1993-94, knows each year is different so he'll have to adjust according to the current situation. And he's fine with that.

"I don't really put a number on (the number of games I'd like to play)," he said. "For me it's different at this point. We're already almost 30 games in so the mentality I have to get myself at now is that playoff level.

"It's a different year so you have to think differently."





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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80