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Mule kicks Wings' offense into gear

Franzen's career-best, four-point effort tames Wild

Monday, 03.29.2010 / 9:24 AM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Mule kicks Wings\' offense into gear
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DETROIT – A significant portion of the Red Wings’ offense went missing when Johan Franzen suffered a torn ACL in October.

Since the Mule’s return in February, the offense has gone through a resurgence, which has resulted in more wins during the most important stretch of the season. Detroit is 12-4-3 when Franzen in the lineup. His four-point effort in Friday’s 6-2 win over Minnesota is a microcosm of what he means to the Wings.

Two days after the line of Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula and Todd Bertuzzi dominated St. Louis, Franzen led his own line for a goal-filled night. He now has nine goals and six assists in 20 games.

“We’ve been having some pretty good games lately, maybe not last game, but the last couple games before where we haven’t scored,” said Franzen, following his career-best night. “We got a little bit lucky, got the bounces our way.”

Franzen opened up the scoring Friday night when he lured goaltender Josh Harding out of his crease with a deke, then fired it into the empty net. Franzen added a goal and two assists.

Captain Nicklas Lidstrom said that Franzen’s performance gave the Wings a spark.

“I think the first goal really set the tone,” he said. “Just being real patient and faking a shot, having the goalie come out and faking the shot and going around him and scoring. That gave him a lot of confidence and I thought he was skating very well too.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock said that he was hoping to get Franzen a hat trick, but didn’t want to have him out on the ice late in the game. The Wings had the luxury of resting some of their top players due to a four-goal lead in the third period.

“I thought Mule was good,” Babcock said. “It would have been nice to get him the third goal, I wouldn’t put him out on the five-on-three, but it’s just one of those things, he hadn’t scored in a while, it was good to see him get back at it.”

CLEARY STILL OUT:
Babcock was vague on the prognosis of Dan Cleary, who left Friday’s game after a hard hit in the second period. Babcock would only say that the forward reinjured his groin. Cleary did not play against Nashville on Saturday. MLive.com reported that general manager Ken Holland said that Cleary is “day-to-day”.

BREATHING EASIER:
After the win against Minnesota, Lidstrom was asked how it feels to be fighting for a higher playoff spot, not just fighting to get into the playoffs at all.

“It sure helps,” he said. “It sure helps being on the right side of the eight spot, being the team that’s chasing and trying to catch up. We’re still not out of the woods yet, we know we still have to continue to win to make sure we’re going to make it and be in the playoffs.”

With Saturday’s win in Nashville on Saturday, the Wings moved into sixth place in the Western Conference standings.



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80