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Red Wings In Familiar Territory After Losing Opening Games

Isaac SmithAnalyst IOctober 8, 2009

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - OCTOBER 03:  #40 Henrik Zetterberg of Detroit Red Wings battles for the puck with #43 Erik Johnson of St. Louis Blues during the 2009 Compuware NHL Premiere Stockholm match between St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings at the Ericsson Globe on October 3, 2009 in Stockholm, Sweden.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

The Detroit Red Wings are far from in trouble. They are currently last in the Central division. Usually this would pose a problem for a team and its fans. WAKE UP people!

It is TWO games into the season. They haven't won a game yet. Big deal. In the last four years, they are 1-3 in opening games. They haven't started a season 0-2 in recent memory, but they have all the components to turn this season around in a hurry. In fact, last year after losing their first game they proceeded to win seven of their next nine games.

The Red Wings have shown up offensively in each game scoring three goals in each game of the home and home against St. Louis. The problem currently is their goaltending.

Unfortunately for Detroit, they no longer have Ty Conklin. Conklin, coincidently, now plays for the 2-0 Blues. Salary cap restrictions kept him from playing in Detroit this season and St. Louis picked him up with pleasure.

My problem with Detroit's goaltending isn't that they lost back to back games to the same team. My problem rests with the depressing statistics that belong to Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard.

Chris Osgood. 19 saves on 23 shots. Good for a 4.07 GAA and a 82.6 save percentage.

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Jimmy Howard. 27 saves on 32 shots. Gives him a 5.17 GAA and a 84.4 save percentage.

You simply cannot win any game with those kinds of numbers. Chris Osgood spoke to the media before the season stating that he would not repeat the regular season performance from last year. Last year Osgood went 26-9-8 with a 88.7 save percentage.

The win total is there, but think how many more he could have had if his save percentage was higher.

This season Osgood must be better than last. He cannot afford to post a save percentage below last year as he must move forward if he is still to be the Wings number one goaltender. Howard is slightly less at fault for his performance. He has only played in 10 NHL games and has just one victory in those games. He hasn't even started some of the games in which he has played.

Howard needs to be ready. Last season, the Wings had a constant dilemma in the net last year because neither Conklin nor Osgood really stepped up in goal and took over as the proven number one. Howard could be another "Conklin". If neither step up, the Red Wings will remain in the same spot as last year.

All other problems that the Red Wings have are relatively minor compared to their situation in goal. Pavel Datsyuk has 2 penalty minutes and 0 points. He will pick up his game and kick it to another notch. Just give the team some time. As soon as they sort things out in their own end, they can worry about getting things started in the other end.

Look for another top playoff seed. Top of the division is not out of the question either. We shall see as the team goes from there. Go Wings!

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