Tell me you predicted this would happen.
OK sure, you may have predicted Detroit would win the game. That’s possible.
Did you predict that Sidney Crosby would be held off the scoresheet?
Did you predict that there wouldn’t be a true highlight goal scored?
Did you predict that the one goal that would be the highlight goal would be scored by Justin Abdelkader?
What you can’t see there is Abdelkader smacking the puck out of mid-air and floating it into the upper corner to put Detroit ahead 3-1.
As for the other goals scored in this game, well, the Joe Louis gremlins were in full effect and the Hockey Gods enlisted a Hanna-Barbera least-favorite to lend a hand in scoring tonight:
That’s right, it’s Ricochet Rabbit.
You don’t know him? That’s OK, he’s not worth looking up on YouTube or trying to find him on Cartoon Network – he sucks. Given what went down this evening with Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury we’re sure he feels the same way.
Check out the two other goals he allowed this evening:
I know the best way to sum that up is, “Shit happens” but yeah – ouch.
That said, as bad as Marc-Andre Fleury had it, Chris Osgood had it going the other way for the Red Wings in stopping 31 of 32 shots and while a bit shaky early on in controlling rebounds, one leading to Ruslan Fedotenko’s seventh goal of the playoffs, Osgood was a rock.
What’s turning out to be one of the crazier phenomenons of the NHL Playoffs is that the more folks seem to discount the work of Chris Osgood, the better he gets. From the second he set foot on the ice in last year’s Stanley Cup Finals as a desperate replacement for the struggling Dominik Hasek, Osgood has been a playoff freakshow.
His efforts in Game 1 brought his playoff goals against average this year to 2.00, second only to Tim Thomas of the Bruins. His save percentage sits at a lofty .928 yet some folks out there more than happy to discount whatever he brings to the table.
But see, now’s the time when I act like a dick and trample all over what I just wrote about him and say: You just never know with Osgood though.
Old memories fade slowly and while you’d like to think the visions of Osgood leading both the 1998 and 2008 Detroit Red Wings to Stanley Cup titles would be the lasting vision of him… The ugly goals and previous poor performances out of both Osgood and some past Red Wings teams tarnish his now incredibly sick and lofty NHL legacy.
Chris Osgood through all this remains the NHL version of Rodney Dangerfield. If he keeps up with the tremendous output and numbers and wins… He’s the benefit of a great defense. If he gives up a few and Detroit loses in rough ways, it’s “typical” Osgood and he has to do better than that for Detroit to win.
For all that talk about having the great defense in front of him, Chris Osgood sure is facing a good amount of shots. After Game 1, Osgood has faced an average of close to 29 shots per game (28.5+ for those wanting more accuracy). Obviously he’s not having boring games in goal and his 2.00 GAA proves that he’s been on top of his game.
Of course, if he goes the way of Cam Ward and melts down completely all this talk is moot and Osgood will probably never shake off the, “You’re not good enough” demons for the rest of his career and eventual heated debate on whether or not he’s a Hall of Fame goaltender.
After all of that, however, it wouldn’t be an official Penguins game if Sidney Crosby didn’t get involved in some way. This time it came after the final horn:
Ah jeez. Now, honestly, what is the point of doing that? According to Sidney Crosby, well… You figure it out:
“Yeah, Kirk, he was doing what he always does. Giving guys lip service and things like that. I two-handed him I think on top of the foot there as we were skating by. He felt it was necessary for him to keep talking after the game, and I thought I’d whack him.”
Yeah, I don’t understand it either.
Signs of early frustration from Crosby? No, that’s dumb so punch yourself in the yambag if you think that’s the case.
Trying to bait Kirk Maltby and the Red Wings into doing something stupid to go running around after him in Game 2?
Well… Crosby can’t be that naive to think that that would actually work. Detroit has already gone through two teams that are both a lot better at that sort of thing and a lot more nasty about it (Anaheim and Chicago) than Crosby thinks he is being in this case and Kirk Maltby running his mouth and getting that kind of reaction out of Crosby means that he’s doing his job well.
The storylines for Game 2 are going to be about whether or not Maltby and the Red Wings respond to Crosby’s petulance (they certainly won’t go out of their way to do it) and whether or not Crosby can give his team a lift and a split before the series turns to Pittsburgh.
Both teams played this game very well and for all intents and purposes it was a very even game. Some folks will be critical of the officiating both ways and there were certainly a lot of non-calls but the key here is that the flow and pace of the game was not affected by it. It didn’t become a slow, plodding, slug-it-out sort of game with both teams playing dump and chase all night and if that sort of thing can continue throughout the playoffs and matters stay consistent the series will stay entertaining to watch.
With the quick turnaround for Game 2, this will provide a good test for both teams fitness level because neither one is going to want to head to Pittsburgh gasping for air.