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Franzen, Wings look to 'frustrate' Bruins

Red Wings know they have to stay clear of scrums after the whistle

Thursday, 04.17.2014 / 4:31 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Franzen, Wings look to \'frustrate\' Bruins

Red Wings forward Johan Franzen has been known to indulge in player scrums after the game officials have blown play dead. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT – Depending on his disposition, Red Wings forward Johan Franzen has been known to participate in extracurricular activities after the whistle.

It’s something that Mule plans to shy away from as the Red Wings enter their Atlantic Division semifinal series against the Bruins Friday night at Boston’s TD Garden.

“It depends on what kind of mood you’re in at the moment,” joked Franzen following Thursday’s final practice at Joe Louis Arena before the team left for Boston. “Sometimes you’re so pissed at yourself or whatever, not playing good enough or something like that and it’s tough to turn the other cheek and walk away. But I’ll do my best.”

The Red Wings know they must keep their emotions in check against a Bruins’ team that’s thought to be a more physical bunch, and one that likes to use intimidating tactics such as engaging in scrums after the whistle. The Wings are aware of the Bruins approach and plan to deal with it in their own way, Franzen said.

“Yeah, we talked about that and we’re going to try to stay out of it,” he said. “We don’t need to get into any of that and, like you said, they want that, so if we can stay away from it it’s going to frustrate them a little bit.”

Other than forward Brad Marchand and defenseman Torey Krug – both are 5-foot-9 – the rest of the Bruins’ lineup is over 6-foot tall, including forwards Milan Lucic (6-4) and Carl Soderberg (6-3), and defensemen Zdeno Chara (6-9) and Dougie Hamilton (6-5).

But the Bruins’ size and strength isn’t keeping Red Wings coach Mike Babcock up late at night this week.

“They’re a big team and they want to be as physical and heavy as much as they can be. When you’re a quick team you want to get on them,” Babcock said. “I think we’re actually a harder team than we’ve ever been since I’ve been here. I think we have the ability to play heavy. We have some smaller-type players that have the ability to be physical. What sets them aside from anyone else is Lucic and Chara. They have them, we don’t. We have a lot of big bodies as well.”

The Red Wings do have bigger players, like Justin Abdelkader, Riley Sheahan, David Legwand and Franzen, who knows that he has to contribute in every way possible to help the cause against the Bruins, but has one goal on 52 shots in his past 18 games.

“Thanks for reminding, man,” said Franzen, who averaged 2.89 shots per game in his last 18 regular-season games. “It’s not why I go out and play games to score goals. I’ve got a lot of things to do before that. It’s not even fifth on the list, probably, when you go out to a game. So, playing really good down the stretch, I think, and not getting goals or many points, but easily could have been 10 more points in the last 15 games or something like that but it was just not happening. I think we played really well and I was happy with my game.”

Prior to his concussion earlier this season – which forced him to miss 22 games – Franzen produced 13 goals and 16 assists. His reputation as a playoff performer, which Babcock touched on last week, is becoming a myth. He has just seven goals and 10 points in 27 playoff games over the past three seasons. He had 31 goals and 59 points in 51 playoff games spanning the previous three years.

“I think it's the Mule's time of year,” Babcock said. “We need him to really dig in and get to the next level for us and just continue to shoot the puck and play with grit and determination, be on the puck. He's got to be one of our best players if we're going to have success. He knows that. He's getting himself ready.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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