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Playoffs are Osgood's favorite time of the year

Wednesday, 05.20.2009 / 12:16 AM / Conference Finals: Detroit vs. Chicago

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

DETROIT -- Considering how hard the Chicago Blackhawks came out at the start of Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, it probably wasn't such a good idea that the Detroit Red Wings handed them a 59-second two-man advantage midway through the opening period.

If only this wasn't Chris Osgood's favorite time of year.

Granted, the Blackhawks managed to score before Brad Stuart's tripping penalty expired -- Jonathan Toews scored on a sharp-angled shot at 12:49 to give Chicago a 1-0 lead -- but Osgood and the Red Wings managed to escape without any further damage en route to their 3-2 overtime victory at Joe Louis Arena.

Chicago was handed its first power play of the night when Detroit forward Mikael Samuelsson went off for cross-checking at 10:33. Just 61 seconds,  Stuart was called for a tripping penalty that had the Chicago bench practically foaming at the mouth at the thought of being up two men.

"I thought we did a real good job killing the 5-on-3," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "(Osgood) did a good job. They had a lot of jams, stuff at his feet. I thought he held his ground. He never got caught up in their guys trying to bump him or anything like that. He just played well."

Tuesday night was vintage Osgood. In a game the Blackhawks really had to have, No. 30 was peppered with 19 shots in the opening period, allowing only Toews' tally that went off Jonathan Ericsson's skate before trickling in.

Of course, that came after he and his teammates had killed off Chicago's two-man advantage.   

"They come at you from every angle," Osgood said of the Hawks. "They're so fast and every line is so offensive. They're quick. They all have very good shots. I can't let up for a second against anybody that's on the ice. Even the guys that don't have as much scoring prowess throw pucks to the net and crash the net."

But Osgood -- who had a 3.09 goals-against average and an .889 save percentage during the regular season -- once again showed why he could very well end up in the Hall of Fame some day. In the second period, with his team deadlocked in a 1-1 tie, he robbed Dave Bolland on a shorthanded chance with a brilliant glove save. Dan Cleary scored before the end of the period to put his team in front.

"Ozzie's always there at the end of the day. He's been great for us," Cleary said. "It's nothing new for us. He's a gamer, a big-game goalie and a real competitor."

Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom agreed. He's seen Osgood have games like the one he had on Tuesday night a lot more than Cleary has.

"He played real well," said Lidstrom, who had a rare four minutes in penalties in Game 2. "I think killing the 5-on-3 was huge for us. Ozzie saw a lot of pucks, and he's making that first save for us. We have to be there helping out on rebounds."

Fortunately for the Wings, on Bolland's chance in the second period there wasn't any rebound to clear.

"That glove save was something else," forward Johan Franzen said. "He's great."

Contact Brian Compton at: bcompton@nhl.com.







Quote of the Day

I came into a team that had 65 points, that was at the bottom of the basement, a team that everybody wrote off as never going to be good. My goal is to go from the very bottom to the very top.

— Forward Brandon Dubinsky on signing a six-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets