-- After watching his team fall just short at nailing down its second straight Stanley Cup championship, Detroit Red Wings
goaltender Chris Osgood
couldn't do much more than shrug his shoulders.
After all, it's not as if the Wings played badly, as they regrouped nicely following a rough start. Osgood was there to bail his team out in the opening period -- he stopped all 12 shots he faced -- but it wasn't enough to avoid a Game 7 in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final as the Wings dropped a 2-1 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins
at Mellon Arena on Tuesday night.
"We were hoping to get a better start, obviously," Osgood said after a solid 29-save performance. "They pounded our 'D' all game. They have a real good team and they played real well tonight. We just couldn't generate anything."
The Penguins generated plenty early on Tuesday, only to have Osgood slam the door. Sidney Crosby
had arguably the best chance of the first period, but Osgood gobbled up the Pittsburgh captain's shot from the slot to preserve a scoreless tie.
"He kept us in the game," Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall
said. "He gave us a chance, once again, to win a game. Tonight, we came up short. Hopefully it will be a different story on Friday."
Osgood could hardly be blamed for the game's opening tally, which was scored by Jordan Staal
just 51 seconds into the second period. After denying Staal's initial wrist shot from the right circle, the Wings were unable to clear the rebound and Staal swatted it into an empty net to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.
"I thought he was real good early ... he had to be. We went into the third period down 1-0, and you're set up pretty nice on the road for Game 6 -- in large part because of your goaltending." -- Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on Chris Osgood
Detroit picked up the pace in the second period -- it was outshot 12-9 -- but failed to squeak one by Marc-Andre Fleury
and trailed 1-0 after 40 minutes.
"I thought he was real good early ... he had to be," Wings coach Mike Babcock said of Osgood. "We went into the third period down 1-0, and you're set up pretty nice on the road for Game 6 -- in large part because of your goaltending."
But the Penguins took a 2-0 lead when Tyler Kennedy
came out from behind the net with the puck and beat Osgood with a shot from the near goal post to the far side at 5:35 of the third.
"He has pretty good hands," Osgood said of Kennedy. "It was a great game. He made a good play. It's my job to get to the post as fast as I can. He made a nice stickhandling play."
drew the Wings to within a goal when he scored his first of the playoffs at 8:01. Osgood kept it there with a huge save on Kris Letang
with five minutes left, but Detroit couldn't find the equalizer and must now win a Game 7 on home ice. The Wings failed to capitalize on two power plays in the third period on Tuesday.
"They came at us real hard for two periods ... actually, the whole game," Osgood said. "Fleury had a great game. For me, I was just trying to give us a chance to win at the end. We have to play a heck of a lot better."
At least this time, the Wings will have their home crowd behind them. Eleven of their 15 wins this postseason have come at Joe Louis Arena, where they will have a chance to tie the 2003 Devils for most home wins in a single postseason on Friday.
"It's going to be fun ... it's been a heck of a series," Osgood said. "I think most people would say it would go seven when it first started. We have a good team and we have to play real well. Am I disappointed that we didn't win tonight? Yeah, but we've got to move on. It was a great game."
Contact Brian Compton at: firstname.lastname@example.org.