Red Wings 1, Predators 0, OT
-- Mr. Hockey celebrated his 80th birthday with the Red Wings Sunday, only to watch Johan Franzen
break one of his franchise records.
his sixth game-winning goal in the month of March to give the Wings a 1-0 overtime win over the Nashville Predators on Gordie Howe’s birthday celebration day.
Franzen broke Howe’s record -- equalled by Henrik Zetterberg
in January 2007 -- for most game-winning goals in one month, which Howe established in February 1952. Two months later the Wings swept the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup finals.
Mr. Hockey duplicated his game-winning feat in January 1956.
“To take something from him, that’s unbelievable," said Franzen of surpassing Mr. Hockey. "It’s always fun when he’s in the house, it’s like you get some extra inspiration and you want to play a good game when he’s got his eyes on you."
Franzen has 14 goals and four assists in the last 13 games.
The day belonged to Gordie, but the two men between the pipes stole the show Sunday afternoon.
Dominik Hasek and Nashville's Dan Ellis combined for 58 saves as the Red Wings and the Predators played nearly 64 minutes of scoreless hockey before Franzen scored to give the Wings an OT victory.
Ellis brought a 170 minute shutout streak into Joe Louis Arena, and kept it alive until Franzen broke the tie at the 3:21 mark of the extra session. He extended his goal-scoring streak to five games after netting the only score of the contest.
Hasek returned to the line-up after missing two games with the flu to capture his fifth shutout and 25th win of the season, making 22 saves along the way.
“It’s nice to be back and even nicer to have a win and get a shutout," Hasek said. "It's very important for me to play, and play well, for the last few games before the playoffs start."
The Red Wings' win moves them one step closer to securing the Presidents' Trophy and home ice advantage for all four possible rounds of the playoffs.
In the first period, Hasek and the Wings killed off two Nashville power plays. Predators defensemen Ryan Suter and Shea Weber both had scoring chances from the right circle, only to ring both shots off the short-side post.
had the Wings' best scoring chance in the first, sliding the puck through Ellis on the penalty kill, only to have the puck stop just short of the goal line.
Ellis continued his impressive performance during the second, making 11 stops to keep the Wings off the scoreboard. The Nashville goalie had Jiri Hudler’s number during the second period, making two game-changing saves on the Wings' winger. Hudler’s second shot against Ellis led to arguably the save of the game, with Ellis kicking out his left leg to keep the puck out of a wide-open net.
The Red Wings (52-20-7) had chances to wrap up the game in the third, but failed to capitalize. Their best opportunity came on a four-minute power play after Martin Erat was whistled for high-sticking Chris Chelios in the face. Ellis kept the puck out of the net until Franzen was whistled for tripping in the Nashville zone.
In overtime, Hasek and Ellis continued their stellar performances, making stops at both ends. Suter had a chance to put the game away on a breakaway from inside the blue line, but Hasek made one of his 22 stops to keep the Wings alive.
"I was hesitating for a few seconds, I was thinking about poke-checking him, and then I changed decisions and I was waiting patiently on him," Hasek siad. "I was in a pretty good position, up high even out of the crease when he was shooting, but there wasn’t a big hole and he hit my back."
Franzen scored his 26th goal of the season, sneaking a bouncing shot past Ellis off a rebound from Zetterberg.
The win moves Detroit closer to capturing its sixth Presidents' Trophy for best overall record in the NHL. No other team has won the prestigious trophy more than twice. A San Jose regulation loss tonight would wrap up the points lead for the Wings.
GAME NOTES: The Wings were without defenseman Brad Stuart (broken finger), and right wings Tomas Holmstrom (lower abdoninal) and Mikael Samuelsson (groin).
|Three star selections