Named to the All-Star game last week, Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood had a less-than-stellar outing against the Atlanta Thrashers, yielding four goals on 17 shots. The Joe Louis Arena crowd cheered as Osgood made the lonely skate to the Red Wings' bench in favor of Dominik Hasek.
Even Hasek didn’t seem to believe it.
“I went to him after three (goals), wasn’t ready, and he had ample warning and time to get ready,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I gave him the opportunity to get ready, get stretched — it wasn’t like a sudden thing.”
Said Hasek: “It’s been a long time since I jumped into the game in the second or third period.”
Babcock has only pulled a netminder (Hasek) once all season, a 4-3 loss to St. Louis on November 13.
“Obviously, I wasn’t happy,” Babcock said. “He (Osgood) would have finished the game if I was happy.”
Atlanta’s Marian Hossa wrecked havoc on Osgood, completing his seventh-career hat trick before the game was half old. The Thrashers went on to win 5-1, leaping from outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture into first place in the Southeast Division.
Seven minutes into the game, Hossa wrestled the puck out of the corner on the power play and skated untouched past defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom en route to the net. Hossa outwaited Osgood, who dropped and allowed Hossa’s snapshot goal.
On his second, Hossa caught Brett Lebda fumbling the puck at the Wings' blueline. Hossa’s wrister from the left faceoff circle eluded Osgood’s catching glove for the 2-0 lead at 14:22 of the first.
Hossa completed the magic just over a minute into the second period. With six seconds left in an Atlanta power play, Hossa -- locked between four Red Wings -- found the top shelf.
Andreas Lilja (3) tries to keep the puck away from Marian Hossa, who scored a natural hat trick Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Jerry S. Mendoza)
Atlanta center Eric Perrin stretched the lead to 4-0, poking a loose puck past Osgood on a power play at 7:14 of the second. That was the end for Osgood.
But as unusual as the Osgood off night was the Red Wings’ offensive goose egg. Detroit had only been shut out one other time this season, a 2-0 blanking on New Year’s Eve against St. Louis.
After Hasek relieved Osgood, the Wings held the Thrashers shot-less for the remainder of the second period, while peppering goalie Kari Lehtonen with 19 shots of their own. Lehtonen didn’t flinch, and the score remained 4-0 through two periods.
Even leading-scorer Henrik Zetterberg couldn’t corral the puck while staring at an empty net midway through the third. Lehtonen stopped Zetterberg on a spectacular left pad save with just over six minutes left before Niklas Kronwall broke the shutout. Lehtonen stopped 46 shots.
Former Red Wings' forward Slava Kozlov tipped a shot past Hasek — a player he was once traded for — to settle the score at 5-1 with a minute left in the game.
“The key is to make sure we don’t elongate this thing,” Osgood said. “We don’t want start thinking about the bad bounces and think that they’ll happen.”
GAME NOTES: It was the Red Wings’ second straight loss to an Eastern Conference foe after losing 3-2 to Ottawa on Saturday … Detroit is now winless in three for only the second time this season, dating back to mid-November ... Detroit’s penalty kill, ranked fifth in the NHL, allowed three power play goals for only the second time this season.
Snap shot -
1 - 0 ATL
Wrist shot -
2 - 0 ATL
Wrist shot -
3 - 0 ATL
4 - 0 ATL
Snap shot -
4 - 1 ATL
5 - 1 ATL