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Mr. June? Red Wings' Osgood is 10-2 in Cup finals

NHL.com @NHL

DETROIT (AP) -Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood and general manager Ken Holland have known each other for more than two decades.

If Osgood isn't a Hall of Famer in another 20 years, Holland will be surprised.

"He's certainly making a case," Holland said Monday.

No doubt.

Osgood helped the Detroit beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 Sunday night, taking a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup finals.

He improved to 10-2 when an NHL title is on the line, lowered his goals-against average to 1.47 and raised his save percentage to .937 in his 13th appearance.

"I think he's playing the best hockey of his career," Holland said.

In the Stanley Cup finals, he's playing exceptionally well. No other goalie in the past 20 years has a better record in his first 12 games, according to STATS, LLC. Martin Brodeur, who backstopped the New Jersey Devils to Cup wins in 1995 and 2000. won nine of his first dozen. He's 15-9 in the finals, behind Patrick Roy at 14-8.

But they both still trail Osgood.

Osgood had an NHL-best 1.55 GAA during the playoffs last year when he helped Detroit hoist the Cup one decade after being its No. 1 goalie in the 1998 championship season.

He's been pretty good in the regular season, too, even though he gave up more than three goals a game for the first time in his 15 seasons.

Osgood, from Peace River, Alberta, has won 389 games in the regular season, tying him with former teammate Dominik Hasek for 10th on the all-time list and trailing just Martin Brodeur and Curtis Joseph among active goalies.

By the time Osgood's current contract expires in two years, he'll have a chance to pass Jacques Plante, Tony Esposito, Glenn Hall and Grant Fuhr on the wins list.

"When I'm done playing, I'll look back at what I've done," Osgood said. "Players always get appreciated more when they're retired than actually still playing."

Osgood seems to be the perfect example. When the Red Wings win, his contributions rarely are highlighted. When they lose, he often takes the blame. Does he get enough respect?

"That's something that's been overplayed," he said. "It's not a tough place to play goal. It's a fun place to play."

The Penguins hope to take the fun out of Osgood's outlook, starting with Game 3 on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

They want to put more pucks on him and bodies around him.

"We had a few pucks laying around him last game," forward Chris Kunitz said.

After Osgood hangs up his skates for good - and that might not be anytime soon - his body of work will be put to the test by those who enshrine hockey's best in Toronto.

Holland has a rebuttal waiting for critics who discount Osgood's accomplishments because he plays for a dominant franchise.

"I chuckle when I hear people say, `Well, he just plays on a good team,"' Holland said. "Does everybody think the Hall of Fame goalies played on bad teams, and Osgood is the only guy who played on a good team?"

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