Howard is the reason that this game was not a blowout.
Osgood, playing behind a totally stacked team as he was the last two seasons, never had to deal with the sort of barrages Howard has been weathering so far in these playoffs.
While this is irrelevant to the topic, your assessment of Osgood's challenges the last few years, especially last year, is way off. That stacked team last year had countless injuries and were a defensive nightmare. How on earth do people so easily forget that Osgood was essentially a shoo-in for the Conn Smythe last year for this reason alone? We had every reason to go down early if not for the excellent play of Osgood. And remember in 2008 against the Pens? 2 shut outs to open the series and take a 2-0 lead against Bettman's fake-son's team!? Give me a break. Osgood was nothing short of outstanding any way you shake it the last two years.
That said, and I'm not saying Howard has been horrible, he hasn't played very well either. He's had really solid moments, but far too many piss-poor moments as well and he has lacked the ability to make key saves at the right time now in 6 of 9 playoff games. He's not losing the games for us in a Legace-esque fashion, but he's certainly not doing much to help matters either. He's got to do more to keep us in the game in the first or it doesn't matter how well he plays in the 2nd or 3rd. Phoenix was a terrible offensive team and now we're facing a team that's actually got some firepower. He's got to be stronger early on in these games, whether the defense is helping or not.
It's everyone's fault we're not playing well more often than not in this post-season, and Jimmy Howard absolutely deserves to shoulder as much of the blame for that as the rest of the team. It's a tough lesson to learn, but he's a rookie, and hopefully he is learning that it takes a lot more of "something" to do in the playoffs what seems fairly natural in the regular season. While I'm not letting him off the hook for this post-season, I'm not about to hold it against him either. Again, ROOKIE!!!