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Wings' Osgood says he can't let up vs. Hawks
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Detroit Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood stops the puck as Blackhawks Ben Eager (55) tries to score and Brett Lebda defends in the second period of Game 2 .

 

Associated Press

Red Wings' Marian Hossa (81), of Slovakia, pushes the puck away from Blackhawks Patrick Kane (88) during an attempt at a wraparound in front of goalie Chris Osgood during the second perio.

 

Associated Press

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Published: 5/20/2009 11:24 AM

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If Chris Osgood is making it look easy in goal so far in the Western Conference finals, the Red Wings veteran insists it's not.

Osgood is finding out first hand what Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff and Vancouver's Roberto Luongo did in the first two rounds - that the Blackhawks swarm and buzz and go to the net from the start of the game until it ends.

"They come at you from every angle," Osgood said. "They're so fast, and every line has a guy that can score. Obviously, their defense is offensive and quick, and they all have good shots.

"For me, I can't let up for a second against anybody that's on the ice. Even the guys that don't have much scoring prowess throw pucks to the net and crash the net. I mean, they're a very good team. I've been impressed the first two games. They come out pretty hard and create a lot of havoc for us in our own end."

Osgood, who has made a reputation for being clutch in the playoffs, has outplayed Nikolai Khabibulin in the first two games with more key saves at critical times.

"I played against Khabby lots in our careers, and I have tons of respect for him, especially the run he had in Tampa," Osgood said.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville tried to spread his offensive talent in Game 2, taking Patrick Kane away from Jonathan Toews and slotting him with Sammy Pahlsson.

The Red Wings' top line of Henrik Zetterberg, Dan Cleary and Johan Franzen shut down Toews and Kane in Game 1, and Quenneville was hoping to present a matchup problem for Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.

"We just wanted a little more balance," Quenneville said. "We feel like everybody's played with everybody throughout the year. Got some different options."

Babcock decided to focus on shutting down Kane, and it worked to a point. Kane was better than in Game 1 with 3 shots, but he was held off the score sheet.

"You've just got to pick your medicine, I guess," Babcock said. "We started the game and were going to go head-to-head with Toews. We decided we'd just do it with Kane because Kane was having so much fun, so Nick (Lidstrom) went against him.

"Kane looked like he was having way too much fun for me out there. I thought we should have run over him a few times, but it never happened. He had too much time and space."