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Osgood, Hiller can expect plenty of traffic in Game 1

by Brian Compton

"We have to do a better job of boxing people out and not giving them a second or third opportunity."
-- Ducks coach Randy Carlyle

DETROIT – It's been made quite clear what the Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks hope to create when they open their Western Conference semifinal matchup at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS).


Fancy plays? Forget it. Finesse? Not likely.

Nope, in this series, the team can score those "dirty goals" right in front of the net will likely be the one that advances from this best-of-7 series. In the end, it's all about getting to the net. Chris Osgood and Jonas Hiller should expect to be busy.

"We have to do a better job of boxing people out and not giving them a second or third opportunity," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said on Friday after his team's morning skate. "We looked at the 10 goals they scored in the Columbus series, and nine of them were scored within the 10-foot range of the net. For Hiller, he's just going to have to battle it. It sounds simple, but just stop the puck. That's what goalies are supposed to do."

Traffic is Detroit forward Tomas Holmstrom's bread and butter. Holmstrom, who had two goals and two assists in Detroit's four-game sweep of Columbus, knows he has a tough task ahead of in the form of Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger.

Capitals/Penguins Playoff Gear Ducks Gear Red Wings gear "He's a tough guy to play against," Holmstrom said of the 6-foot-6 Pronger. "He's got that big reach. It's going to be tough to be around the net. He fights for his position. I've got to play for mine and get that good screen. It's going to be a battle, for sure."

One that Carlyle hopes Hiller is ready for. The 27-year-old was sensational in Round 1 against the Sharks, posting a .957 save percentage and two shutouts. While he may not see every shot, Carlyle expects Hiller to be in position to make the big save.

"Things don't change that drastically," Carlyle said. "They've got a mandate that they want traffic, and we've got a mandate that we want traffic in front of their goaltender. Goaltenders have to battle through some of that stuff."

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