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Part 1: Fleury vs. Osgood

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I'll be doing a 4 part series from now until the start of the Cup Finals (or however long it takes me) to preview each important part of each team. What better place to start than with the guys that carried their respective team to the finals?

Marc-andre-fleury-headshot5_medium vs. Osgood_medium

Marc-Andre Fleury Chris Osgood

I'll first with Fleury. 12-5, 2.62 GAA, .906 SV%.

The guy is some what of an enigma in net. He makes saves that any other goalie would look like a nincompoop trying to make while some of the goals he lets in make you scratch your head. Huh, kind of sounds like Osgood at times doesn't it? Anyway, Fleury is probably on of the more athletically gifted netminders in the game. He has incredible flexibility and is able to recover quickly from rebounds.

So how do the Wings beat him?

The best way for the Wings to beat him is to just throw everything at him. They can't afford to wait for the perfect pass and shot because there's a high probability that he will stop it. The Caps had the most success out of any team against Fleury and a large part of that was because they chucked pucks at him with no hesitation. Unfortunately, Fleury has the ability to actually perform better when he's faced with a lot of shots (see 45 save performance againt Philly in game 4). But the Wings also have the most complete and deep offensive attack that Fleury will face so far.

I think the best way for Detroit to have success against Fleury is to park Franzen, Holmstrom, or Cleary in front of him and limit his visibility. I know it sounds simple but if he can't see it, it's going to be hard to stop it. It will force Fleury to give up rebounds and secondary chances for the Wings. He's also stayed too deep in his crease at times and the Detroit snipers could exploit the corners of the net.

Next up, Chris Osgood. 12-4, 2.06 GAA, .925 SV%.

Osgood has proven all the critics wrong in the playoffs thus far and he need to continue to prove them wrong for the Wings to keep the Cup in Motown. Ozzie has had an incredible save percentage and goals against average this postseason but let's face it, he's seen nothing like the Penguins offense. Not to take anything away from the Blackhawks but the Penguins have a whole different caliber of scorer. Malkin, Crosby, Guerin, Fedetenko, and Staal are all great scorers and can test Osgood. Osgood has been better than expected moving across the crease and in the Chicago series could really only be blamed for one or two goals as "ones that he shoulda had". He doesn't have the flashyness that Fleury does but he has the experience and the rings, and that has to count for something.

The way the Penguins can have success against Oz is by putting shots on goal. Unfortunately for the Penguins, he has one of the best--if not the best--defense in the league in front of him that limits the amount of shots that get through.

I give the edge to...Marc-Andre Fleury. And it's only the slightest of edges too. It's hard to go against Osgood the way he's played this postseason but from a pure fundamental and textbook standpoint, Fleury has the edge.

But textbook techniques doesn't always win championships do they? We'll see by the end of the series.