Osgood Leads Red Wings to Game One Victory

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.

One Game at a Time, Starting Now

It’s been a quiet week around here while a lot of other places have been buzzing with pre-series storylines. I don’t bother with that ’cause I (finally) learned last year to take the playoffs one game at a time.

Around these Intarwebs the Blue Jackets seem to be a pretty sexy pick for first-round upset. I can see why people would say that, it makes for a good story. If you don’t have a stake in the Wings’ success why wouldn’t you go for the great underdog story. Having finally made the playoffs the young, scrappy Blue Jackets are stuck going against the defending champion Detroit Red Wings, led by their core of evil players who sign long-term, low-cap-hit contracts and refuse to fight.

I don’t buy it but I’m not expected to, I’ve got my rooting interest in this one.

So bottom line? I don’t care about the stories. Just like last year, this is one game at a time. Starting in about 97 minutes.

Red Wings to Open Playoffs Thursday Against Blue Jackets

The Detroit Red Wings will begin their 2009 Stanley Cup Playoff run on Thursday, April 16, the team announced Sunday. They will host the Columbus Blue Jackets in a best-of-seven Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup.

The Blue Jackets finished the season as the conference’s seventh seed, a position not finalized until the St. Louis Blues defeated the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.

The second-seeded Red Wings were 3-2-1 against Columbus this season.

The schedule for the series is as follows:

Game 1 – April 16 – @ Detroit – 7:00 PM
Game 2 – April 18 – @ Detroit – 6:00 PM
Game 3 – April 21 – @ Columbus – 7:00 PM
Game 4 – April 23 – @ Columbus – 7:00 PM
Game 5 – April 25 – @ Detroit – 7:00 PM
Game 6 – April 27 – @ Columbus – TBD
Game 7 – April 29 – @ Detroit – TBD

Red Wings Fall to Blackhawks on Late Penalty Shot

Chicago’s Dustin Byfugliuen scored a penalty shot goal with 28 seconds remaining in the third period Saturday, carrying the Blackhawks to a 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings.

Byfugliuen’s goal broke a 2-2 tie. Andrew Ladd added an empty-net goal to get the ‘Hawks their first victory over Detroit this season.

Chicago had opened the game’s scoring on their first shot, with Niklas Hjalmarsson blasting the puck past Ty Conklin‘s glove just 16 seconds into the game.

The Red Wings evened things up with 9:01 left in the first as Valtteri Filppula scored a power play goal off a no-look feed from Jiri Hudler.

Henrik Zetterberg scored with 1:02 remaining in the second to put Detroit out in front but Chicago tied the game at 8:53 of the third on a blast by Ben Eager.

Conkin finished the game with 22 saves on 25 shots against. Chicago’s Cristobal Huet made 21 saves on 23 Detroit shots.

The two teams meet again Sunday in Chicago to close out the season.

The Red Wings wore their Winter Classic jerseys, giving their home fans the chance to see them live… Detroit was without Marian Hossa and Kris Draper who are both listed as day-to-day. Derek Meech and Chris Chelios filled in as forwards on the fourth line to take the open roster spots.

Red Wings – Blackhawks Pregame Notes

I’ve gotta admit, I’ve got a superficial reason for wanting to watch this afternoon’s Red Wings – Blackhawks matchup. Though they may be incorrect, I love Detroit’s throwback jerseys.

Ty Conklin will make his second start of the season in said jerseys, having won in then at Wrigley Field in the New Year’s Day Winter Classic. Chris Osgood was given the option of starting today or tomorrow and chose to start on the road in the last game before the playoffs.

The Red Wings will be without Marian Hossa, who left Thursday’s game early with a groin injury. He will also miss tomorrow’s game but is expected to return for the start of the playoffs.

Cristobal Huet will start for Chicago. The Blackhawks will be without Patrick Sharp and Brent Sopel, with Kris Versteeg also unlikely to play.

With the Wings locked into the Western Conference’s second seed and the ‘Hawks having clinched fourth place, the two games are virtually meaningless. The Red Wings are 4-0 on the season against the Blackhawks and Chicago is looking to break 100 points in the standings for the first time since 1993.

Report: Franzen Agrees to Long-Term Deal with Detroit

Major Red Wings news reported by Canada’s TSN this morning, as they say that Johan Franzen has agreed to a nine- or ten-year contract extension.

No confirmation from the Wings’ organization, Franzen’s camp, or anyone else. Including, as Bill at A2Y pointed out, from any of Detroit’s mainstream media.

I’ve got no problem with the length of the deal when it’s used to bring the cap hit down but I’ll reserve judgement overall until the dollar amount is known. That is, assuming this is true at all. Coming from TSN, I think it is.


Bill had a post last week about not caring about the Wings when the Wings don’t care about the games.

He basically says that there’s more to life than hockey and he’s not going to let the Wings bring them down if they lose in the playoffs.

I’m kind of in the same boat right now. I’ve got a lot of stuff going on in life and quite frankly I don’t have time to deal with a Red Wings team that continues to suck ass.

So what I’m going to do right now is take a bit of a hiatus.

I’m not going to make the remaining games of the regular season appointment TV. I’ll watch when the rest of my life lets me, not plan my life around the schedule.

When I watch, I’ll probably take part in the GDT. I might even recap the game. But for the most part, I’m taking the next week off.