Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood took a step towards answering his critics Thursday night, stopping 20 of 21 shots in leading the Red Wings to a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game One of their first-round matchup.
In the lead up to the playoffs, Detroit’s goaltending tandem of Osgood and Ty Conklin had been named as a prime reason why the Wings might not repeat as Stanley Cup Champions.
Osgood started out strong, stopping 13 first-period shots as the Red Wings were shorthanded four times, including a brief five-on-three.
Jiri Hudler opened the scoring for Detroit 48 seconds past the game’s midway point, taking a feed from Valtteri Filppula for a tap-in on a two-on-one.
Just 52 seconds later, RJ Umberger tied the game on a backhander when he was left alone in front of the net.
Rookie Jonathan Ericsson, making his first career playoff appearance, put the Red Wings back out in front with 5:39 left in the second. Ericsson fired a shot from the right point and Columbus’ Manny Malhotra attempted to glove it out of the air. Malhotra only got a piece of the puck and deflected it past goalie Steve Mason.
Niklas Kronwall’s power play goal 48 seconds later was also a deflection on a shot from the point. Kronwall’s blast bounced off of Jan Hejda’s hip and through a Johan Franzen screen to get past Mason.
Franzen added a goal of his own 2:54 into the third, stuffing the puck in from the side of the net.
After the frantic first period, Osgood faced only eight shots for the remainder of the game. Mason faced 34 shots on the night, stopping 30 of them.
The Red Wings went one-for-four on the power play while the Blue Jackets were scoreless on five power play tries.
Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series between the two teams will be Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings were without Kris Draper, who will also miss Game Two of the series.