In his last game, Detroit's Chris Osgood watched what appeared to be a sure win turn into a stunning overtime defeat. The next team on the schedule likely will help make the Red Wings goaltender forget one of the worst efforts of his 15-year career.
Should he start against Tampa Bay on Thursday night, Osgood will seek his 17th consecutive win over the Lightning as the teams face off at the St. Pete Times Forum.
On Tuesday, Detroit led Pittsburgh 5-2 early in the third period in a rematch of last season's Stanley Cup finals, won by the Red Wings in six games. But Osgood allowed two goals - one to Jordan Staal - in a 72-second span to allow the Penguins to draw within 5-4.
After Jiri Hudler gave the Red Wings some breathing room with less than 10 minutes remaining, Osgood was beaten twice by Staal in the final 4:09 and then by Ruslan Fedotenko, off an assist from Staal, at 3:49 of overtime for a 7-6 loss.
"I thought it was going to be over when Hudler scored," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "Then we self-destructed."
The seven goals allowed tied a career high for Osgood, and were the most he had given up since Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against Phoenix on April 24, 1998.
Against the Lightning, though, Osgood has yet to be beaten, going 16-0-0 with a 1.80 goals-against average and three shutouts in 18 appearances. Though he has not played in Tampa since Dec. 17, 2005, he's won all seven starts there, recording a 2.28 GAA.
Newcomer Marian Hossa could make it easy for Osgood to keep his streak intact. Hossa, who had two assists against his former team on Tuesday, leads Detroit with 11 assists and 19 points.
Hossa has failed to record a point only twice this season, both times on the road. He has nine goals and nine assists in 23 career games in Tampa.
Second-leading scorer Pavel Datsyuk (14 points) has points in all three career games against the Lightning, totaling three goals and three assists. Henrik Zetterberg leads the Red Wings with nine goals, but has never found the back of the net in five games against the struggling Lightning (5-6-4).
With players like Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, and top overall draft pick Steven Stamkos, scoring was not expected to be a problem. Instead, Tampa Bay enters this contest having tallied a league-low 31 goals, and is coming off a 4-0 loss to Florida on Wednesday.
"We could play here all day if we don't score a goal," coach Barry Melrose said after the Lightning were blanked for the third time this season. "We've got to manufacture goals somehow."
A five-time 30-goal scorer, Lecavalier leads the team with only six this season. St. Louis has only three goals, and Stamkos has none in his last six and only two overall.
Tampa Bay has scored just nine goals in its last five games against Detroit, going 1-3-0 with one tie.
Neither Lightning goaltender has fared well against the Red Wings. Mike Smith has a 1-2-0 mark with a 2.29 GAA, but Olaf Kolzig is 2-12-1 with one tie and a 3.13 GAA.
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