The Detroit Red Wings opened the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs much the same way they finished the regular season: flat and seemingly disinterested. But one thing was immediately different: the goaltending.
Anchored by a 20 save performance from goaltender Chris Osgood, the Red Wings overcame a slew of early penalties and a sluggish offensive start to down the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1, and take a 1-0 lead in the best of seven series.
The Blue Jackets roared out of the gate in their first ever playoff appearance, outhustling the Red Wings and generating a number of scoring chances. However, the oft criticized Osgood rose to the occasion, making 13 saves in the first frame to keep the game scoreless after one period.
The action continued to go back and forth in the second, until Jiri Hudler beat Steve Mason on a snap shot at 10:48 in the second to give the Wings a 1-0 lead. That lead would be short lived, as R.J. Umberger beat Osgood on a backhand shot 52 seconds later to tie the game at one.
The turning point in the game came at the 14:21 mark of the second period, when Red Wings rookie defenseman Jonathan Ericsson ripped a slap shot that hit the glove of Columbus' Manny Malhotra and deflected into the net, giving the Wings a 2-1 lead. 48 seconds later, Niklas Kronwall added a power play goal to give the Wings all the room they would need on the scoreboard. Johan Franzen would add one more goal in the third to round out the scoring.
Aside from the superb goaltending, special teams was the difference maker in the Wings win tonight. The difference between the best power play in the league during the regular season and the 30th ranked unit was obvious, as the Wings went 1 for 4 with the man advantage, while the Jackets went 0 for 5.
Chris' Red Wing of the Game: Chris Osgood
In a performance that was reminiscent of the 2008 playoffs, Osgood's 13 saves in the first period gave the Wings (and the fans) the lift they needed to overcome a sluggish start.
#30 / Goalie / Detroit Red Wings
Nov 26, 1972
|2008 - Chris Osgood||46||2663||26||9||8||0||137||3.09||1208||1071||.887||2|
Game 2 of the series is back at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday. Puck drops at 6:00 PM. The game will be aired on TSN and the NHL Network.