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Ozzie gets career win No. 400

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – Chris Osgood has accomplished quite a bit in his time with the Red Wings, winning three Stanley Cups. He’s also won two Jennings Trophies, as the goaltending tandem with the best team goals-against average. He’s even scored a goal in his 17 season career. 

But Sunday’s X-X win over the Dallas Stars may have provided the finishing touches on the Wizard of Oz’s Yellow Brick Road to what could be his final hockey destination – the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The 38-year-old goalie made XX saves against the Stars to become only the 10th goalie in NHL history to record 400 wins.  In reaching the historic milestone, Osgood joins Martin Brodeur (607 wins), Patrick Roy (551), Ed Belfour (484), Curtis Joesph (454), Terry Sawchuk (447), Jacques Plante (437), Tony Esposito (423), Glenn Hall (407), and Grant Fuhr (403).

With every save he made Sunday, the Joe Louis Arena crowd, which clearly knew what was at stake, cheered wildly for their popular veteran goalie, who was a Red Wings’ third-round draft pick in 1991.  The biggest applause came on a Stars’ power-play late in the second period. Positioned in the low slot, Dallas forward Loui Eriksson took a pass from behind the Wings’ net and blistered a point-blank shot.  Osgood turned the shot aside, and the crowd serenaded the goalie with boisterous “Ozzie! Ozzie!” chant.

Osgood ranks second in wins amongst active NHL goalies, behind only the Devils’ Brodeur, and he is the fourth member of the 400 Club to have spent time in a Red Wings’ uniform. The others were Sawchuk, Hall and Joseph.

The Wings’ goaltender is now three wins behind Fuhr, who was his childhood idol growing up in Peace River, Alberta.  With seven more wins, Osgood will move into a tie for eighth place on the all-time wins list with Hall.

Sunday’s victory also gave Osgood career win No. 29 against the Stars, the most wins that he’s compiled against any NHL franchise. He has also collected 20-plus wins against Chicago (28), Calgary (23) and St. Louis (20).

Last week, longtime Osgood friend and teammate Kris Draper said that the milestone is a statement to Osgood’s commitment to winning games, and not personal statistics.

“It just shows you, really from the start of his career and all the way up to now, just his consistency,” Draper said. “All he did, all he talked about, was winning hockey games. He didn’t care what the score was, as long as he made one more save than the other goalie. That’s something that I think he was always proud of, just walking away and getting that win. It’s unbelievable.”

In 1996, Osgood became the third NHL goalie ever to score a goal. He did so in the waning seconds of a win against the Whalers in the Hartford Civic Center. With the Whalers’ net empty, Osgood made a save on a long-distance shot, moved to his right a lifted a shot that bounced down the ice and coasted into the empty net.

Despite playing three seasons away from Detroit – with the New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues – Osgood has recorded 316 of his 400 wins with the Red Wings. Those 316 wins is good for second all-time in Wings’ history, behind only Sawchuk., who played 12 of his 21 NHL seasons in Detroit.

While some pundits will debut his worthiness for enshrinement, Nicklas Lidstrom said Osgood’s milestone should guarantee him a spot in the Hall of Fame.

“Oh I would think so,” Lidstrom said. “All the goaltenders that have been around the league since the league started, and he’s going to be in the top 10, that’s an amazing feat.”

DetroitRedWings managing editor Bill Roose contributed to this report.

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