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Osgood confident he can put weak start behind him

by Brian Compton
A few thoughts while I cope with the fact that Winnie Cooper is off the market:

One of those nights -- Chris Osgood couldn't explain it. He just didn't have it.
The Detroit Red Wings goaltender struggled mightily Monday night as his team saw its four-game winning streak come to an end with a 5-3 loss to the Calgary Flames at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Osgood, who was between the pipes for each of those aforementioned victories, was pulled in the second period. He allowed three goals on just 14 shots.
"By far that was my worst game in this building," said Osgood, who was pulled six minutes into the second. "It wasn't that I didn't feel good, I love playing in Calgary, I always feel good here, but it just didn't happen for me tonight."
Osgood's struggles started early, as he allowed a 50-foot shot by Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf to get by him. Jamie Lundmark's goal at 2:21 of the second came from the corner, as the puck trickled off Osgood's glove. Just over three minutes later, Mike Cammalleri banked a shot off Osgood's pad and in as he was skating behind the net.
But with the Stanley Cup Playoffs just around the corner, Osgood is not concerned that the struggles that plagued him earlier in the season have returned.
"I don't think about it when I play great, you just move on and play the next game," Osgood said.

"You guys (media) make too big a deal out of these games. If this happens the day before the playoffs, it doesn't matter. What matters is what happens in the first playoff game."
Detroit coach Mike Babcock agreed.
"If you didn't have such good history and if you didn't believe in him, you might think like that, but that's not how I look at it at all," Babcock said. "He had a tough night, but in saying that, he won us the Cup last year, he was great for us. We don't need him to be first star, we just need him to be regular and he's very capable of doing that."

Hurricane warning -- The Carolina Hurricanes are on a roll.
The Florida Panthers became Carolina's latest victim, as Ray Whitney scored 1:37 into overtime on Monday night to lead the 'Canes to a 3-2 win at the BankAtlantic Center. The victory, Carolina's fourth straigth, moved the Hurricanes into fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
Whitney wasn't the only Carolina player to step up Monday. Cam Ward, who made his 22nd consecutive start between the pipes, made 37 saves.
''You had your best players at the end, Cam Ward and Ray Whitney (come through),'' Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. ''What a play for (Whitney). A win on the road against a team that works its butt off every night, we're real happy with it.''
Florida wasn't thrilled, although it did move into a tie for eighth place with the struggling Montreal Canadiens. The Habs, who have lost five in a row, still have the slight edge for the No. 8 seed since they have more wins and a game in hand. However, both teams have 81 points.
The Panthers would have come away with nothing if not for Cory Stillman's game-tying goal with 4:05 left in the third period. The goal came during a two-man advantage.
''It's better than nothing,'' Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said of the one point. ''It's good that we battled back, but we put ourselves in that position. I guess we'll take anything, but the extra point would have been good.''

They did it again -- Apparently, the New Jersey Devils didn't get the message that the Philadelphia Flyers are pretty darn good on special teams.
They found out the hard way Monday night.
Simon Gagne had a goal and 2 assists, Jeff Carter scored his 40th goal of the season and Philadelphia went 3-for-3 on the power play in a 4-2 win against the Devils at the Wachovia Center.
The win was Philadelphia's 40th of the 2008-09 season and helped the Flyers move within seven points of No. 2 New Jersey in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia also has a game in hand on the Devils.
''We made some mistakes on special teams and gave them too many chances,'' New Jersey captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. ''We've got to be able to kill penalties.''
Carter is the 13th player in Flyers history to hit the 40-goal mark in a single season, and it's the 37th time in team history the feat has been accomplished.

''It's cool,'' Carter said of his milestone. ''It's obviously nice to be able to help the team out and score some goals. It's definitely a good feeling. It's a good feat for myself and help from some good teammates.''

"It seemed a week ago we were in a funk we were trying to get out.  Teams were creeping up on us in the standings so this is a big step in the right direction for us." -- Danny Briere
More importantly, Carter and the Flyers are happy to have moved four points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were idle Monday. Philadelphia still has two games in hand on the Pens.

''It seemed a week ago we were in a funk and we were trying to get out,'' Flyers forward Danny Briere said. ''Teams were creeping up on us in the standings, so this is a big step in the right direction for us.''

Contact Brian Compton at:

Material from wire services was used in this report.
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