Big night from Franzen's line

May, 7, 2010

DETROIT -- Johan Franzen had a night he won't soon forget, tallying a franchise-record six points (4-2), the first NHLer to pot six points in one game since Geoff Courtnall in April 1998.

"I don't know if I felt any different," said Franzen. "The puck just seemed to go in off my stick a lot."

The puck seemed to follow Franzen around all night.

"He was all over it," said linemate Todd Bertuzzi. "He had some really good speed in the neutral zone. When The Mule's got speed like that, he's basically untouchable. It was good to see. We're going to need it again."

Also of note, Franzen recorded the second-fastest hat trick in Stanley Cup playoffs history, tallying his three goals in a 3:26 span in the first period Thursday night, just two seconds off the fastest mark. The record is 3:24 by Tim Kerr of the Philadelphia Flyers against the New York Rangers on April 13, 1985.

Like Kerr, Franzen has made a living in the slot.

"You always know he's got a great shot and he always seems to be in the right spot at the right time," said linemate Henrik Zetterberg. "If you look back at past playoffs, he's scored a lot of goals. It's nice that he got four tonight. Hopefully he keeps going."

Franzen's linemates, Zetterberg and Bertuzzi, also had big nights. The trio combined for 13 points.

"I thought we were moving around a bit more, not standing still, supporting each other and getting free that way," said Bertuzzi.

Bertuzzi tallied five points (1-4) and was finally rewarded for his hard work in the playoffs.

"He's doing a lot of work," said Zetterberg, who had two assists. "I've been playing with him the whole playoffs and a lot in the regular season. He doesn't get enough credit. He's a hard worker, always in front of the net, he keeps guys away from us. He's fun to play with. It's nice to see him get rewarded like that."

Give Red Wings coach Mike Babcock kudos for switching up his top two lines after the Game 3 loss, flipping Franzen and Valtteri Filppula. The result? Instant magic.

"It was nice of him [Franzen] to step up and shoot it in the net," said Babcock. "Mule is one of those guys, no different than any scorer like [Joe] Pavelski; when you get hot, you just shoot the puck and it finds its way in the net."

Rough stuff

As you might expect with a lopsided score, things got chippy in the third period. Sharks center Joe Thornton led the way with two roughing penalties and a 10-minute misconduct after he went after Tomas Holmstrom.

"I thought they were diving around pretty good there at the end," said Thornton. "I don't know why I got a 10-minute. Holmer kind of ran into me; I'm just a bigger guy that's all."

The Wings shrugged off the rough stuff.

"I don't know, I didn't think it was much more than other games," said Zetterberg. "It's usually how it goes when a team is down a few goals like that."

For the game, the Sharks took 15 penalties for 49 minutes in total and the Wings took 11 for 33 minutes.

"The one thing about tonight, they finally took more penalties than we did," said Babcock. "Going into tonight, we were 22 times short-handed and they had 11. But they got their 5-on-3 again tonight, so they've got the market cornered on that."

The Sharks went 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Wings were 2-for-8.

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?