The Red Wings look for their second sweep in as many rounds as they take on the Stars tonight. It’s been ten years since Detroit last lost a playoff game in which they could eliminate their opponents but that was also in the Western Conference Finals, also against Dallas.
Chris Osgood was the goalie then but he’s not the same as he once was. In 1998, Osgood still gave up long goals and could be shaken. Today’s Osgood is one of the most mentally-tough players in the game. Nothing fazes him. Not goals against, not big saves. He’s just in a zone that makes him tough to beat.
He’s been able to do it before (see his reaction to my favorite save of all-time) but never this consistantly.
And that doesn’t even speak to his level of play. He’s better positionally than he’s ever been, getting to where he needs to be and not wasting energy. A bit like how Nicklas Lidstrom plays defense.
So while I like patterns and history and all that, I can’t say that the Wings’ loss in Game Five in 1998 will have anything to do with tonight’s game. Just an interesting stat.
Tonight the Red Wings will be without Johan Franzen, still out with unexplained headaches. The Stars continue to miss Jere Lehtinen, Stu Barnes and Philippe Boucher. Mike Modano and Brendan Morrow didn’t practice yesterday but are expected to go today, both having missed time in Game Three.