Osgood Strong as Red Wings Down Kings

Red Wings goaltender returned from a ten-day rest to stop 30 of 31 shots against, leading Detroit to a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

The only goal he allowed was a power play marker by Alexander Frolov 4:48 into the third period.

After a failed clearing attempt by Detroit, Frolov circled behind the net and came back out front for a chance. Osgood stopped his first attempt but Frolov banged home the rebound chance to pull the Kings within a goal.

Derek Meech scored the Red Wings’ first goal with 7:52 left in the second period. Ville Leino brought the puck from behind the net to the front of the goal and tried to stuff it home. Meech jumped in from the blue line and put in the rebound.

“I saw (Los Angeles’ Anze) Kopitar lose his stick. Leino came from behind the net and tried to stuff it,” Meech said. “And I came in looking for the garbage.”

Just 1:43 into the third Tomas Kopecky made it 2-0 for Detroit, one-timing a shot from an acute angle past Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick.

Quick stopped 39 of 41 Detroit shots on the night.

The game was the 1000th of Kirk Maltby‘s career.

Red Wings – Kings Pregame Notes

Chris Osgood returns to the Red Wings’ crease tonight as Detroit hosts the Los Angeles Kings. This marks his first start since a 6-5 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on February 15.

Tomas Kopecky also returns to the lineup, taking his spot on the fourth line with Ville Leino moved up to the second line to take the injured Marian Hossa‘s spot.

Hossa, hurt during the second period of Wednesday’s win over San Jose, is questionable for tomorrow’s matchup in Nashville.

Chris Chelios and Brett Lebda are healthy scratches. Lebda has recovered from his back injury enough to play if called upon.

I’ll probably miss the start of this one while I’m working on some projects around the house. I’ll catch up as soon as I can.

Hossa Out Against Kings

As Malik put it, “so much for ‘fine.'”

Despite having been delared fit by Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock at the end of last night’s win over the San Jose Sharks, Detroit will be without Marian Hossa for at least Friday’s matchup with the Los Angeles Kings.

“His neck’s stiff,” Babcock said.

“Day-to-day is sometimes 10 days, but I would think he would be back right away.”

Hossa was injured on a hit from Douglas Murray midway through the second period.

Ville Leino – who was scheduled to be the odd-man-out in the fourth line rotation – has been moved up to Hossa’s spot on the second line.

Red Wings Sink Sharks, 4-1

Henrik Zetterberg scored twice and the Red Wings also got goals from Marian Hossa and Ville Leino as Detroit defeated the San Jose Sharks by a score of 4-1 Wednesday night.

Ty Conklin made 34 saves on 35 shots to earn the win.

Hossa opened the game’s scoring on a Detroit power play at 6:51 of the first period. He broke free of a San Jose defender and skated free into the right faceoff circle before snapping a shot that snuck through Evgeni Nabokov‘s pads and into the net.

Leino’s eventual game-winner came with 3:52 left in the opening period as he reached to bat a fluttering puck out of mid-air and into an open net.

Zetterberg scored his first of the game on a highlight-reel play at 4:08 of the middle frame.

With Pavel Datsyuk in the penalty box, Zetterberg blocked a shot in his own end and raced out into the neutral zone where he picked the puck back up. Fighting off a defender, Zetterberg did a spin-o-rama between the faceoff circles and slid the puck around Nabokov.

The superstar Swede added Detroit’s final goal with 2:57 left in the game, stuffing the puck between Nabokov’s pad and the post from behind the net on a Red Wings five-on-three.

Christian Erhoff scored San Jose’s lone goal at 6:25 of the second, beating Conklin with a long shot on a Sharks powerplay.

Hossa left the game during the second period after taking a hit to the head. The Red Wings said he was kept out for precautionary reasons… Datsyuk’s assist on Zetterberg’s second goal was his 500th career point… The Sharks had an apparent goal negated by video review in the second period… Just before Zetterberg’s first goal, the puck bounced off the protective netting in the Detroit zone but no official noticed.

Red Wings – Sharks Pregame Notes

The top two teams in the Western Conference meet tonight as the San Jose Sharks visit the Detroit Red Wings. The race is still close enough that a win is important for both teams.

Chris Chelios and Tomas Kopecky will be the healthy scratches for Detroit tonight as Brad Stuart returns to the Red Wings’ blueline and Kris Draper takes his spot back on the fourth line rotation.

Ty Conklin gets the start in net.

Much has been made of Claude Lemeiux’s return to Joe Louis Arena but I think he’s a washed-up has-been so I won’t give him more words than that.

The Pistons have been shifted to FSN+ so this one is on standard FSN and FSN-HD.

Red Wings Injury Updates

Khan reports that Brad Stuart will return to the Detroit lineup on Wednesday. Stuart hasn’t played in over a month after suffering injuries to his ribs and back while crashing head-first into the boards in Phoenix.

Brett Lebda is also close to returning but will not play against San Jose.

Ty Conklin will get the start in goal for the Red Wings against the Sharks. Chris Osgood will start Friday against the Los Angeles Kings.

Zetterberg Leads Red Wings to Win over Ducks

Henrik Zetterberg scored a goal and added two assists Friday night, helping lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Ty Conklin made 24 saves to earn his 11th straight home win in net for Detroit.

Ryan Getzlaf scored on an Anaheim power play just 52 seconds into the game, then Zetterberg took over.

With 6:12 left in the first period, Zetterberg fought off Chris Pronger in the right corner and sent the puck to the slot for Dan Cleary to deflect past Anaheim netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

With under a minute remaining in the period and the Red Wings on the power play, Zetterberg notched his second assist by sending the puck from behind the net out front to a streaking Pavel Datsyuk, who snapped it by Giguere.

Zetterberg scored his goal on another Detroit power play, beating Giguere on a slap-shot from the left circle with 8:11 left in the second period.

Johan Franzen scored his third goal in two games since returning from a hand injury at 1:23 of the third, stealing the puck as the Ducks attempted to break out of their own zone before turning and firing it past Giguere, who seemingly let up on the play.

Bobby Ryan pulled the Ducks back to within a pair with 6:05 left in the game after Conklin lost the puck in his skates but Kris Draper finished things off with a breakaway slap-shot in the game’s final seconds.

The game was the 1,000th of Pronger’s career… One game after going five-for-six on the power play, the Red Wings went two-for-five.

Thoughts on Osgood’s Benching

Both the Chief and Malik have commented multiple times on the Jimmy Howard call-up and Chris Osgood‘s removal from the Red Wings’ lineup so I’ll throw my two cents in, too.

I’ve said before that I’m an Osgood fan. I’ve liked the guy since 1994, when he was crying in the locker room after the Game Seven loss to San Jose, the first time it actually looked like a Red Wings gave a damn about all of those early playoff exits from the early 1990s.

Osgood’s stop on Peter Zezel en route to a double-OT shutout in Game Seven of the 1996 Western Conference Semifinals is still one of my favorite saves of all time.

Look at his eyes after that stop, he’s unfazed. Osgood’s mental toughness has always been his strong point.

And that’s the problem this season. That toughness isn’t there, it’s been replaced with frustration at himself and with his team. So as much as I like Osgood I won’t deny that he’s very off his game.

If the playoffs started today, who would I start? I want to give Osgood the benefit of the doubt with the expectation that he’s out as soon as he falters, much like Hasek last season. That said, if he doesn’t snap out of it, I can’t say I’d blame Mike Babcock for going with Ty Conklin for Game One.

The one thing I have trouble with is the idea that the Wings are playing poorly in front of Osgood and better in front of Conklin this season. The Wings sit second in the Western Conference and have won a ton of games again this year, the idea that they’re playing poorly – no matter who the goalie is – seems ridiculous. It’s true, of course, but more than playing poorly the Wings are playing differently.

For years, Detroit has been a puck-possession team. Hold the puck, move the puck, keep the puck. If you have it, the other team doesn’t. And part of that kind of play is that the goalie is expected to keep play alive.

Osgood thrived in that system last year, controlling rebounds and putting them to places where his defenders could get to them. This year the Wings don’t get to the loose pucks as well and those formerly-controlled rebounds become rebound chances for the opposition. Conklin freezes the puck more than Osgood, saving himself from those rebound chances and relying on the Wings’ superb faceoff skills to get the puck back.

So do you blame Osgood for failing to adapt to his defense’s new laziness or do you blame the defense for not getting to the puck? As a goalie of a different kind, I understand Osgood’s frustration, preparing for a season expecting one kind of play from his defense only for them to play another style entirely.

All of that said, Osgood does need to get focused and this time off should serve him well. While he’s refocusing, though, the rest of his team needs to tidy up their game as well.

Howard Called Up, Will Start Saturday

The Detroit Red Wings have called up goaltender Jimmy Howard from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and will start him in Minnesota against the Wild on Saturday.

Chris Osgood, who had been expected to start, will remain in Detroit to work with goalie coach Jim Bedard. Osgood will also be a healthy scratch for Friday night’s match against the Anaheim Ducks, with Howard backing up Ty Conklin.

“Jimmy is playing as well as he has at any point in his four-year (professional) career and it’s an opportunity for Chris to have 10 days (off), get a mental breather and clear his mind,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. “We need him to be at his best. Sometimes when you get bad bounces, it just snowballs. The hope is he gets to where he was last year.”

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