RED WINGS ON THE VERGE OF STANLEY CUP FINALS

Goalie Chris Osgood and the Red Wings put stranglehold on Blackhawks taking a commanding 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference final.

By Bryan Mongeau-Eastmond, staff writer

DETROIT (RPRN) 5/20/09- The Detroit Red Wings have plenty of playoff experience to go around. With a veteran group under head coach Mike Babcock, the Wings always manage to make their presence felt around this time of the year.

The key to success: having an ace up their sleeves. No question that Detroit’s top card in the 2009 playoffs has been goalie Chris Osgood.

“Ozzie’s always there at the end of the day. He’s been great for us,” said teammate Dan Cleary. “It’s nothing new for us. He’s a gamer, a big-game goalie and a real competitor.”

Up to now, the pressure for him to close the door on opposinng teams has been a key element in his club’s sucess.

However, such confidence in their netminder, might not have been so high at the beginning of the postseason. With the way that Osgood played during the regular season, no one envisioned that the Wings would be ahead in the Western Conference final based on goaltending.

Chicago’s game plan heading into Game 2 of the Western Conference finals was simple: fire on site. Osgood answered the call allowing one goal on 19 shots in the opening period. Surely, the Hawks wanted to test just how sharp Osgood was feeling that night.

“They come at you from every angle,” Osgood said of the Hawks. “They’re so fast and every line is so offensive. They’re quick. They all have very good shots. I can’t let up for a second against anybody that’s on the ice. Even the guys that don’t have as much scoring prowess throw pucks to the net and crash the net.”

The way in which the Blackhawks came out firing when the puck dropped last night, clearly alludes that this young team treated Game 2 as a must win situation.
Similar in Game 1, Chicago took the early 1-0 lead, but Osgood and the defending Stanley Cup champions did just enough to escape with the 3-2 overtime victory at Joe Louis Arena.

The win gives Detroit a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and a chance to repeat last year’s triumph.

Granted, the Blackhawks unquestionably have one of the league’s youngest and talented group of guys, experience may very well be the difference maker in this series.

Photo of Wing’s Chris Osgood courtesy of the National Hockey League.

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