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Osgood looks forward, not back

by John Kreiser
PITTSBURGH -- Take heart, Detroit fans. The Red Wings are back to even in the Stanley Cup Final, having dropped two games in Pittsburgh after winning twice at home, but goaltender Chris Osgood feels that all things considered, his team is OK.

"We have to play better," Osgood said after Pittsburgh's series-tying 4-2 victory in Game 4 at Mellon Arena on Thursday night. "We didn't play as good as we can. Probably our best game was our last game. We feel we haven't played our best yet, and it's 2-2.

"We're not going to panic. The bottom line is that we have to play better as a team. So far, it's 2-2. It could be 3-1, but I think we're about where we should be."

Detroit led 2-1 before a three-goal surge in a span of less than six minutes put the Penguins ahead to stay. Jordan Staal scored on a shorthanded break, Sidney Crosby finished off a 2-on-1 with Evgeni Malkin and Tyler Kennedy put away Crosby's pass on a perfect 3-on-2 following a turnover.

Osgood had no chance on any of the goals.

"They don't shoot as much as we do, but they can really pass it," he said. "What can I say -- all three were great goals. They've got a good team with some very talented players."

Staal's tying goal was especially painful -- the Wings went from being up a goal and up a man to being tied. But Osgood said he wasn't that concerned.

"I didn't think it was that big a deal," he said. "We were 2-2."

So what do the Wings have to do to put the wheels back on after a pair of losses in Pittsburgh? Osgood feels one key is to cut down on the number of scoring opportunities Detroit is giving up.

"We can't be giving up odd-man rush after odd-man rush against players that are very good offensively," he said after a game in which turnovers led to several of them -- including both of the last two goals. "If you do that, they're eventually going to make plays. We've got to do a better job coming back."

Speaking of comebacks, the Wings are hoping that star center Pavel Datsyuk will be available for Game 5 -- he's missed Detroit's last seven games with a foot injury and sat out Game 4 after taking part in the morning skate. Like all of his teammates, Osgood is eager to see Datsyuk return -- but feels the Wings can't look upon the Hart Trophy Finalist as some kind of savior.

"We know he's close one day, not as close the next," he said. "But we don't keep our minds on it, thinking Pav's going to come. We just have to play better."

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