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Franzen named NHL First Star of the week

Mule's five-point burst last week helped Red Wings to wins at Montreal and Ottawa

Monday, 03.3.2014 / 1:25 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Franzen named NHL First Star of the week
Johan Franzen was named the NHL's First Star of the Week for his five-point outburst in wins over Montreal and Ottawa. The Mule had two assists against the Canadiens and three goals vs. the Senators. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT – It didn’t take long for Johan Franzen to heat up after missing two months with post-concussion symptoms and even less time for the league to recognize the Mule’s immediate impact.

Franzen’s five-point performance in back-to-back wins at Montreal and Ottawa earned the veteran forward top honors in the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week, which was announced Monday afternoon.

“He’s one of those guys who when he gets going seems to be unstoppable,” Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said. “It’s a big positive, I think, for us to see that and hopefully he can keep it rolling.”

Coming out of the Olympic break last week, Franzen produced three goals and two assists to help the Red Wings improve to 28-20-12 and maintain a slight grip on to the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

He assisted on both goals in a 2-1 victory over the Canadiens, including the primary assist on Gustav Nyquist’s winner with 27.3 seconds left in overtime at Molson Centre last Wednesday. The next night, Franzen collected his sixth career hat trick, and first since Nov. 8, 2011, in a lopsided 6-1 win against the Senators. Despite missing 27 games with a myriad of injuries, Franzen is fifth in team scoring with 12 goals and 28 points in 33 games played.

Widely considered a streaky scorer who often gets his goals in bunches, Franzen will be counted on more than ever now that Henrik Zetterberg (back surgery) and Pavel Datsyuk (knee) are mending. Zetterberg wouldn’t likely return before the playoffs, and Datsyuk – who didn’t travel with the team to New Jersey for Tuesday’s game against the Devils – is day to day.

“We’re going to need him clicking every single night,” Howard said of Franzen. “Having Pav and Z out there’s a lot more pressure on the guys up front but they have to find a way to put it in the back of the net and Mule has done a great job of that for us in the last few games.”

Now that Franzen appears to be fully recovered from his concussion, the Wings hope his five-point week is the beginning of a lengthy hot streak.

“Other guys we consider to be offensive threats aren’t with us,” coach Mike Babcock said. “There’s guys missing, there’s no question about it, but to me it’s about the guys who are playing and the guys are playing well.”

New Jersey center Adam Henrique and Minnesota goalie Darcy Kuemper were named second and third stars, respectively.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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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
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80