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Three Questions: Wings-Devils

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
Chris Osgood made a difference-making save on Devils left wing Patrik Elias in the second period of Saturday's game. (Photo by Dave Reginek)
What was the turning point of the game?

Chris Osgood’s save on Patrick Elias during the second period possibly won the game for the Red Wings. With the Devils on a power play at the time, Elias took a feed from the point, and redirected it in towards a wide-open net for a sure goal. Osgood, however, had another idea, diving back to the center of the crease to knock the puck down, and then jumped on the frozen rubber as it was about to roll into the goal. Instead of scoring, Elias knocked the net off it moorings, and Osgood received a standing ovation from the Joe Louis Arena crowd.

Besides the shot itself, what went into Marian Hossa’s second goal?

When you see Marian Hossa’s second goal of the night on highlight shows Sunday morning, you will see him walk in and beat goaltender Kevin Weekes all by himself. But Hossa never would have recorded his eighth goal of the season without his linemates Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom, who both played important roles on the play.

Datsyuk started the play by using his stickhandling skills to get the puck out of the zone, and onto Hossa’s stick. After a quick maneuver around a New Jersey forechecker, Datsyuk sent a backhand saucer pass across two lines to Hossa. The newest Red Wing spun to catch the puck – turning, skating backwards, fielding the puck, then transitioning back to rush the puck into the Devils’ zone.

Holmstrom’s actions on the play were just as significant to the goal. As Hossa crossed the blue line, Homer crashed the net, which did two things. One, he drew a New Jersey defenseman over to him, which created an open lane for Hossa to skate in on. Two, he caught the attention of the goaltender. Coaches always instruct defensemen to take the player without the puck on a two-on-one, and have the goalie pay attention to the shooter.  But when you have Holmstrom charging at the net like a bull, it’s hard to stay focused on the other guy.

The end result is another goal for Hossa, but it never would have happened without his fellow forwards.

What went wrong for the Devils?

The problems for the Devils start from the crease outward. With the loss of future hall-of-famer Martin Brodeur, their rock-solid defense is starting to look shaky. Weekes not only let in three goals, but mishandled a lot of long shots and rebounds, which contributes to a lack of confidence for any team. Hossa’s first goal was a great shot, but Weekes should have been covering the post much closer, which would have kept the shot out. The early goal was a backbreaker for the Devils, and they never recovered.

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