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Osgood puts loss in rear-view mirror

by Brian Compton
PITTSBURGH -- Watching Chris Osgood joke around with his teammates at Mellon Arena on Wednesday afternoon, it was easy to see that the Detroit Red Wings' goaltender has already put Tuesday night's 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins behind him.

Osgood, who has been outstanding this postseason (14-5, 2.00 goals-against average), allowed three goals on 20 shots in Game 3, although two of the three came on the power play. Less than 24 hours after the final horn sounded, Osgood was completely relaxed and ready for Thursday's Game 4.

"I feel really good and real confident," Osgood said. "They've got a good team. We're happy to be up 2-1, but we know we'll have to continue to play well to beat them."

Maxime Talbot beat Osgood just 4:48 into Game 3. Evgeni Malkin threw a pass from behind in net out in front and Talbot ripped a shot from between the circles past the Wings' goalie to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.

The Pens later erased a 2-1 deficit when Kris Letang scored from beyond the left circle on the power play. At first, Letang was unable to collect Malkin's cross-ice feed, but he had the time to gain control before launching a long slap shot past Osgood with 4:03 left in the first.

"The first one, I didn't see it," Osgood said of Talbot's goal. "The second one, I didn't see, but that was my own fault. I looked the wrong way around (Niklas) Kronwall. I should have been looking the other way, and I was about a second behind it. In this League, if you're a second behind a shot, it's too late. I pretty much screened myself on that because I looked in the wrong direction when I should have looked short side. I looked far side instead."

Gonchar's goal also came on the power play -- a blast from center point that found its way through a crowd in front and past Osgood. Afterward, nobody in the Wings' dressing room was prepared to blame the goalie for the loss.

"I thought Ozzie played well," Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "He probably wanted that second goal back, but otherwise I thought he made some big saves. I thought he played well for us."

Clearly, the loss is behind Osgood and the Wings, who are still just two wins away from repeating as Stanley Cup champions. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why Osgood was all smiles at Wednesday's skate.

"It's behind him," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "He is having fun. He's played real well, and he should be enjoying himself. That's another thing we talk about a lot is enjoying the process. Enjoy the crowd on the road. Enjoy what you're doing. A veteran guy like that who has been through it before and understands that he's got to be ready to go tomorrow, that's what he's trying to do.

"I think he's been excellent. Every once in a while as a goalie, you give up a goal you'd like to get back. But I didn't think we generated enough for him after the second period. That's how I look at it."

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