I highly doubt anybody is taking away from Osgood's recent past performances, so not much need to divulge into numbers there saying one goalie is better than the other.
Presently though, it is Howard's job and he has not been the problem/main problem on this team in losses (sans Phoenix game 4 perhaps) and we're basically smacking the few upside the head who think Osgood should be starting next game. Not because of Osgood, of course he is capable, but because Howard really hasn't done much to justify yanking him to the bench.
There have definitely been people dropping the cliche of Osgood getting by on stacked teams. It's typical BS Osgood analysis around here. When Osgood plays well, it's because of stacked teams. When anyone else struggles, it's the team's fault. Meanwhile, in the regular season, when the team plays poorly, it's because they're not confident in Osgood to make the save. Then someone else comes in and plays well (and perhaps the team gets a wake up call and picks up their game too...) and suddenly the teams playing better because the goalie's giving them confidence.
And that does bring me to a point about Howard again. If we're going to go with the idea that strong play from a goalie makes a team play better with more confidence, and then that weak play makes a team play worse with less confidence, you've got to question how Howard's play in the post-season is influencing this team. And while I'd agree that he certainly hasn't been the only problem, he's most certainly not been a strength for us the majority of the time thus far.
He's struggled to hold leads and oftentimes given up the leads early. On multiple occasions he's surrendered the lead/let the other team tie it up merely moments after we tied it up/took the lead. And that boils down to the one thing I very much agree with Eva on: Howard's timing for giving up goals has been terrible, and far too often these goals are either stoppable or blatantly soft. Here is a stat that to me is fairly stunning: Howard's given up goals in pairs (or more...) just a few moments or less apart, in 6 out of 9 games.
While the circumstances are obviously different given how much Osgood's played this year, if this were 2008 and Howard started and played as he has this year, he absolutely would have been pulled by now. The biggest reason we pulled Hasek is because he kept giving up goals in pairs, surrendering leads, and generally not stopping the puck at the worst times. Howard's absolutely had the same issue, and for as well as he's played at times (and bear in mind, I gave him a ton of credit for his Game 2 recovery and don't hold those 3rd and 4th goals against him), he's also played downright poorly at others.
As I've said all along and all season, I like Jim Howard a lot and I'm very happy for all he's done this year and I think he's got a lot of potential if he keeps his head straight and continues to improve on his fundamentals. But at the end of the day, I'm not going to sugarcoat anything about the post-season: he hasn't been good enough, not even close. If Osgood were in game shape, I think Howard would have and probably should have been out in the first round. Far too often he has not played well enough to allow this team to get any kind of momentum or swagger going. When you're constantly giving up goals in pairs, giving up leads early, giving up leads or ties through the game, you don't give your team any chance to get going.
Again, I'm not saying it's all his fault by any means, but you've got to sugarcoat it and some to say that he hasn't been a glaring weakness in the post-season far too often. And to suggest that he isn't helping the team play better is no stretch either. And while I get that it's real hard to put Osgood in at this point for other reasons, and while I get that Howard's finished games better than he started at times, it doesn't change the fact that we've lost more games than we've won and Howard's most certainly one of the reasons that is the case.
So while it's not so cut and dry for me, I certainly understand why many are ready to yank Howard and see if Osgood can get it done again. This isn't just slappy's on the forum. It's the radio hosts, it's the journalists, and it's not a brand new suggestion after game 4. While I get that Howard is a rookie and I'm not going to hold this against him in the future, I don't think anyone is being honest if they suggest that Howard hasn't been incredibly disappointing in the post-season so far. The whole reason we went with Howard over a 3-time Cup winner down the stretch is because he played so great, at times looking utterly dominant while putting on a one man show. He absolutely has not played anywhere close to that level in the post-season.
How can you really expect people to be happy about that?
-Elliot...does not panic.