Thoughts on Game 51 (5-4 win over Phoenix)
"I didn't think we were bad defensively," said Babcock. "I just think the puck went in the net."
"We should have won that game 4-2 or whatever. That's just the way it goes some nights. We were able to pick up Ozzie tonight."
No need to read between the lines. It's blunt.
Add in that earlier this week Babcock said that a team needs good goaltending to win the Stanley Cup and that he's looking for one of his two netminders to step up in the final 30 games and Osgood's role as playoff goalie is closer to being taken away. Not gone, but closer to being gone.
From training camp until now, Osgood was the playoff goalie. If Osgood doesn't play better and Ty Conklin does get hot, then the groundwork is being laid for a transferal of status.
Remember that early in his first season in Detroit, Babcock went with Jimmy Howard rather than Osgood when Manny Legace got hurt. That didn't last long, but Babcock didn't start out as a big Osgood fan.
I'd guess that Conklin will get the start Saturday.
-- The new defense pairings have Niklas Kronwall on the right side (with Nicklas Lidstrom) and Andreas Lilja on the left (with Brian Rafalski). That's a switch of sides from what both have been used to playing for the past four years. It must take a while for a defenseman to feel comfortable on the other side of the ice.
-- The Coyotes did some mad forward line shuffling throughout the game. Very difficult to find any coherency in their line combinations.
-- Henrik Zetterberg said after the game that he doesn't know if he'll remain on a line with Pavel Datsyuk. Babcock sounded like he was leaning that way short-term when he said that he likes the Filppula line as the No. 2 line.
-- Chris Chelios just couldn't get a shot through.
-- Nicklas Lidstrom played his 1,300th career regular-season game.
-- Darren Helm ... four hits, one takeaway, zero giveaways, one blocked shot and 3-for-5 on faceoffs. He really belongs here.