I was browsing on Hockey Numbers' site looking at his always interesting expected goal numbers, and the numbers for Detroit are just eye-popping. I just wish that the TV broadcasting crews would look at these types of numbers before continuing to fall over themselves in praising Chris Osgood for his supposedly outstanding play.
Since Osgood became the starter, Detroit has allowed just 22.5 shots per game. These shots have generally been low quality shots, so the expected goals against have been just 11 goals in 8 games, according to Hockey Numbers. These are based on league averages, so you can do the math to figure out that a league average goalie playing Osgood's playoff minutes on Detroit should have about a 1.40 GAA and a .940 save percentage. Osgood's actual numbers: 1.47 GAA, .935 save percentage.
What about that 9-0 record? Is that impressive? It really isn't so hard to predict when you look at the numbers at the other end of the ice. Detroit has 37.2 expected goals in 8 games with Osgood as their starter (game 3 vs. Dallas hasn't yet been updated). That means with neutral goalies, Detroit wins pretty much every game 4-1 or 5-2. The Red Wings have been so dominant that the closest game in terms of expected goals that they have played since switching to Osgood was their 8-2 blowout in game 4 against Colorado.
Osgood has outplayed Dominik Hasek, but that is more an issue of time finally catching up with the Dominator - Hasek played a poor game 3 that cost Detroit a win, and was mediocre in game 4 when Nashville actually outplayed Detroit. But since the goalie switch Detroit's team play has improved, and they have been absolutely unstoppable at both ends of the ice. Maybe that can be attributed to Osgood's calming influence or something, but I really doubt it.
My intention is not to criticize Osgood, because he is not playing poorly. He is taking care of business, and I am sure Detroit is quite happy with merely decent goaltending. But it isn't my intention to praise him either, because he is not playing any better than the other goalies still left. Osgood is doing his job, just like, say, Brad Stuart is doing his job, or Kris Draper is doing his. The difference is that Osgood is wearing a different set of pads than the rest of his team, so he gets more credit for it.
Detroit isn't the first team ever to completely outplay their opposition in the playoffs, so it makes you wonder: How many other Osgood-types were there who became legends because of their playoff success on dominant teams? I'd wager there were more than a few.