I guess the old saying that "third time's the charm" is true. It's finally happened. We can stop talking about it. Chris Osgood has 400 wins as an NHL goaltender, and he earned the milestone in fairly spectacular fashion, making 46 saves en route to a 4-3 OT victory against the Avalanche.
Matt Duchene (who I secretly wish was playing for Canada at the WJC) got the Avs on the board when he deposited a rebound past Chris Osgood. The Wings answered on the power play when Jiri Hudler (stop rubbing your eyes: it's the right name) put a shot past Peter Budaj. The Avs got the lead back less than a minute later when T.J. Galiardi scored the nightly "soft" goal on Osgood. The Wings spent the majority of the first chasing the Avs all over the ice, but after killing off an extended 5-on-3, the Wings tied the game again when Johan Franzen ripped a shot past Budaj. The Wings spent most of the second period in their own zone, and were bailed out as Osgood made 23 saves in the period alone. The Wings woke up a bit in the third and took their first lead of the game when Nicklas Lidstrom scored the Wings' third power play goal of the night. Unfortunately, giving the highest scoring team in the NHL 7 power plays is going to lead to trouble, and Duchene scored his second of the night after Niklas Kronwall took a tripping penalty with under three minutes to go in the third. The Wings were able to hang on and get the game to OT. In the extra period, Kronwall atoned for his earlier mistake and buried a Henrik Zetterberg past Budaj to give Osgood the win and bump the Wings up another 2 points ahead of everyone else in the West.
The game will forever be known as the game that Osgood got the big win, but there's a lot more to take from this victory. Follow me after the jump where we wrap this game up in a neat little bow.
- I'll start with Osgood. Ozzie, I said some harsh things about you after your last performance. I said that we were through and I was never going to defend you again. Tonight, I didn't fault you for the first goal, but then you went and let that second goal in, and had you been in front of me, a drink would have hit your face. But then something happened: you woke up. I don't know what happened, but you were spectacular tonight, and you earned that win. Without you, the Wings enter the third period down at least 3 goals. You were the difference, and I congratulate you on your accomplishment. It really hurt me to talk about you the way I did last game, because I've always thought you were under-appreciated and I'm sincerely happy for you. Now that you have this monkey off your back, we can all go ahead and just focus on the only goal left for the season: winning the Stanley Cup.
- In case you weren't aware, Ozzie is your Player of the Game, and not just for sentimental reasons. He was a monster out there after the first period. I will not say another disparaging word about him tonight, because it's his night, and I'm classy like that.
- Totally unrelated and off-topic, but did anyone else catch the guy sitting behind the Wings bench at the beginning of the game? He was sitting between a Wings fan and an Avs fan, and he was wearing a Blackhawks shirt and hat. I didn't know the bandwagon went all the way out to Denver.
- Lost in all of the Osgood-celebrations is the fact that Nicklas Lidstrom had 4 more points tonight, racking up a goal and 3 assists. He was also even on the plus/minus despite the fact the Wings had 4 power play goals. He broke up a 2-on-1 in the second while the game was tied, and was a monster in his own end all game. I defy anyone to tell me there has been a better defenseman this year in the NHL.
- We're all feeling really good about this win, but let's face facts: the Wings were badly out-played in the first two periods, and this was a game that they could easily have lost if not for Osgood's play. The excuses were ready to go: back-to-back games in a different city, lost players due to injury (including Tomas Holmstrom and Justin Abdelkader both going out of the lineup at different times during the game), and their schedule has been brutal. If the roles were reversed, we'd be talking about how well the Wings played but it was just "one of those games"; it's nice to be on the other side of one of those results for once.
- You know how I know the Avalanche are bad? Jiri Hudler has 2 goals this season. I'll give you 5 guesses who he has scored both of those goals against. In all seriousness, Hudler looked good tonight, including scoring the Wings' first power play goal of the night. However, did anyone else find it incredibly ironic that he only shot after his pass attempt was blocked?
- Good thing the refs let the them play, eh? 13 power plays, and I think at least half of them were from some "embellishment" by a player (on either team). Thank goodness the Avs penalty killing unit is so bad, especially at home. About halfway through the game I wrote the following: "Wings can win if they score on PP - won't win game at even strength". Now if only I could pick the PotG correctly.
There was a ton of interesting things from this game: the fans booing Bertuzzi (psst Murph: Av fans booing Bert is the same as us booing Claude - it's going to happen, so don't question it); Kris Draper's battlefront-flashback where he unleased a booming slapshot from just outside the crease that caught Shattenkirk in the face (thankfully he was not injured); Jan Mursak not looking completely out of place in his first NHL game, where he both took and drew a penalty; Kronwall atoning for his penalty late in the third that led to the tying goal by scoring the game winner; and another 2 points to give the Wings a 3 point lead in the Western Conference and vaulted them into a tie for first in the NHL with the Penguins. But this night will always belong to Chris Osgood, only the 10th member of the 400-win club. Congratulations to Ozzie on this accomplishment: now go get Cup number 4.