Chris Osgood is going to start in goal in back-to-back days for the Red Wings tonight in HSBC Arena after making 21 saves in Sunday's 3-2 win over Minnesota. It's been a rough year for the veteran, who has battled inconsistency to the tune of a 3.17 GAA and .884 save percentage. Ty Conklin (2.50, .910) has been much better but can the Wings really win another Stanley Cup riding him in the nets? Remains to be seen.
What needs to be seen are some of the numbers on Detroit's stat sheet. Wow. The Wings have four 30-goal scorers (led by Marian Hossa's 37). They have six players with ratings of plus-20 or better (Chris Butler and Tim Connolly lead the Sabres at just plus-9).
Some pretty astounding team numbers too to be wary of tonight. The Wings are 26-1-5 when leading after one period and 33-1-5 when leading after two. And they get dramatically stronger as the game goes on. While the Sabres have a plus-19 goal differential in the first period this season, they're a combined minus-12 in the second and third. The Wings, meanwhile, are just plus-8 in the first but are plus-28 in the second and plus-18 in the third.
Same dramatic difference in shots on goal. The Wings have an astounding 680 more than their opponents while the Sabres have been outshot by 64. In the second period alone, Detroit's shot advantage is 1,008-666.
It all comes down to the most important stat of all: Wins. Sunday's victory over the Wild made Detroit just the third team in history to win at least 50 games four straight years -- and the first since the legendary Scotty Bowman-led Montreal teams of the late 70s.
Lots of bad omens there for the Sabres' desperation playoff run. But at least the Red Wings are certainly one team more than worth the price of admission to see.