DETROIT - Chris Osgood predicts the reshaped Detroit Red Wings will end up contending for the Stanley Cup with a new emphasis on defense to make up for the scoring they lost in the offseason.
Osgood said Detroit's home opener provided only a preview of what's to come.
Kris Draper and Johan Franzen scored 1:34 apart late in the second period to put Detroit ahead, and Osgood made 32 saves to help the Red Wings hold on for a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in a rematch of Western Conference finalists last night.
"We do the same thing every year, and it's going to be the same thing again," said Osgood, who helped Detroit hoist the Cup two years ago and come within one win of repeating in June. "We're going to be in the same position at the end where we're going to have an opportunity to win like we do every year."
The salary-cap strapped Red Wings lost four players who combined to score 88 goals last season.
Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky signed with Chicago, Mikael Samuelsson left for Vancouver, and Jiri Hudler bolted for Russia.
"We're going to have a different look in April," Osgood said. "We're going to be harder to play against. You saw a glimpse of it with our penalty killing with our guys blocking shots."
Chicago had a two-man advantage for 1:53 early in the second period and didn't score.
"The 5-on-3 turned the game for us," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "It was a big win for our team to take some pressure off."
Detroit opened the season by losing a pair of two-goal leads in losses to the St. Louis Blues in Sweden.
The Blackhawks controlled the game early, taking a 1-0 lead on Patrick Sharp's goal early in the second period, but Osgood prevented them from adding to the lead.
"Ozzie was real good," Babcock said. "I don't know if he played one game that well in the first half last year."
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, meanwhile, doesn't want his club to get down about its 1-1-1 start.
"If we keep playing like that, we'll find a way to win," Quenneville said. "We had puck-possession time, we had chances, we had zone time."
After Sharp scored, Nicklas Lidstrom tied it midway through the second on a shot that caromed off Chicago's John Madden and past goalie Cristobal Huet.
"The turning point was the one that went off my skate into the net," Madden said. "Changed the momentum of the game. Before that, I thought we were in the driver's seat."
Kris Versteeg pulled the Blackhawks within a goal midway through the second period only to be denied a shot at overtime by Osgood.
"Ozzie had a heck of a game," Quenneville said. "He played well against us in the playoffs, and he looked like the same goalie."
Detroit began to put memories of its Game 7 loss to Pittsburgh in the past with a solid showing against its biggest Central Division rival.
"We've got to start at the bottom of the hill again," Osgood said.
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