Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images
After 60 minutes of play, Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks was all tied up at two goals apiece. Overtime would decide the winner and a nice tic-tac-toe play from Jiri Hudler to Valtteri Filppula to Mikael Samuelsson resulted in the game-winning goal 5:14 into the extra time. With the 3-2 overtime win, the Wings grab a 2-0 series lead before heading to Chicago for Games 3 and 4.
Game 2 Redux
In Game 1, the media talked about the Wings’ secondary scoring bringing the offense and making the difference in the game. Well, they did it again last night. Samuelsson earned his second game-winning goal in as many nights. Not only did the Swedish forward cause the turnover to create the 3-on-1 opportunity, but capitalized on that chance for the win.
Defenseman Brian Rafalski scored Detroit’s only power-play tally of the night on a blast from the point with 3:17 remaining in the opening period of play.
Here’s an interesting stat, according to Dave Dye at The Detroit News: “Cleary has six goals in the playoffs, including four in the last three games.” The 1997 Chicago draft pick scored again on an unassisted breakaway goal, pouncing on a Blackhawks turnover at 14:06 in the middle frame.
Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press thinks that the Hawks had their chance. He says a young team tends to pull an upset by winning an early game — not trying to come back from a 2-0 series deficit. And Detroit has a two-game series lead without scoring from their big names with Detroit fans eagerly awaiting the offensive outbreak from the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Marian Hossa, and Tomas Holmstrom.
And way to go Wings’ fans in the metro Detroit area — the broadcast of the game on Versus received a 15.5 HH rating in Detroit, making Versus the top-rated network overall (broadcast and cable) for the time period and beating the American Idol season finale by 26 percent!
Chris Osgood stellar in goal
In his 100th playoff game in the Winged Wheel, netminder Chris Osgood made an impressive 37 saves in the victory. For a team like Detroit, they need their goaltender to be solid in net. It’s not often that the rely on their goaltender to win a game, but Ozzie did just that last night according to Henrik Zetterberg with two key saves in overtime and 19 in the first period alone.
Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press talks about Osgood’s stellar play in net last night, writing that “Osgood smothered the puck because, on this night, he smothered the Blackhawks.” Detroit News’ columnist Bob Wojnowski simply states that “Osgood bailed his teammates out.” In a game where Detroit had a slow start and looked tired, Osgood was the difference maker.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com asks if we still want to doubt Osgood in his latest article.
Yes, Osgood’s biggest fans are the 20 players making millions of dollars wearing the Red Wings’ jersey, who can’t figure out why most of the outside world continues to doubt the 36-year-old netminder.
Ozzie didn’t just have one good game this series — the netminder has been consistently good in the crease throughout this postseason. Ansar Khan of MLive.com points out Ozzie’s statistics in this playoff run compared to that of the regular season: “Osgood has a 2.04 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in the postseason — a huge improvement from the regular season, when he posted a 3.09 GAA and .887 save percentage.”
The Wings will get a two day break before playing Game 3 in Chicago on Friday evening. This opportunity to rest couldn’t come at a better time for Detroit as it was pretty clear that the team was tired during points of last night’s game. Can you blame them? After a grueling, physical seven-game series against the Anaheim Ducks, Detroit had two days off before this series began. Look for Detroit to have a bit more of a spark and some added energy coming into Game 3. Head coach Mike Babcock also said in last night’s post-game press conference that forward Kirk Maltby will play in Game 3 after being a healthy scratch for the first two games of this series.
Be sure to tune in to Versus (U.S.) or CBC (Canada) for Game 3 at 8 p.m. EDT on Friday. You can also stop by DetroitRedWings.com to partake in WingsLive, a narrative play-by-play of what’s happening on the ice and at the United Center.