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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 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
8 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
9 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 51 18 19 25 37
H. Zetterberg 52 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 51 15 17 -2 32
G. Nyquist 52 14 15 -2 29
J. Abdelkader 52 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 37 6 20 11 26
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 38 5 10 6 15
D. DeKeyser 48 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 19 10 4 .932 2.03
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89