Johan Franzen scored his 185th career goal Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, moving him past Sid Abel on Detroit’s all-time goal scoring list. Only seventeen Red Wings have scored more goals than “The Mule.” He is now three goals behind both Syd Howe and Reed Larson.
Captain Henrik Zetterberg spoke out about all of the ‘Franzen hate’ that many Red Wings fans have expressed.
“Can’t really understand people complaining over Mule,” said Zetterberg. “If you were to look at his season so for, obviously he was out for a bit, it happens to everyone, but when he was playing, he’s showing up. He’s putting points on the board. He works hard. He’s good defensively. We’re happy the way Mule is, and he’s playing well.”
In what goalie Jimmy Howard deemed to be his team’s best game of the season, Detroit defeated the Blackhawks in convincing fashion, holding their talented lineup to only 26 shots.
The fourth line kicked off the scoring as grinder Luke Glendening notched his second goal of the year with some help from Drew Miller.
Detroit would take three consecutive penalties in the first period, with Glendening’s interference minor costing his team the early lead. Chicago’s Patrick Kane evened the score just twenty-one seconds into the penalty. Fortunately for Detroit, that was the only goal they would allow in the contest.
While the first period was closely contested, the second was dominated by the Red Wings. Johan Franzen and Tomas Tatar scored 1:10 apart before the midway point of the game. Zetterberg intercepted a pass in the offensive zone, slipped a quick pass to Franzen, and he backhanded it past Corey Crawford for what would end up being the game-winning goal.
Tatar’s goal came after another good shift from the fourth line. Another Chicago turnover led to Joakim Andersson carrying the puck the other way. After taking a hard wrist shot, the puck caromed perfectly to the other wing, where Tatar was able to snap in the rebound.
“They’ve been playing really good for us (the fourth line) in the start of the season, and they don’t get enough credit I don’t think,” said Zetterberg. “It’s fun to see that they get some goals.”
The Wings outshot the Hawks 20-8 in the second stanza.
Defenseman Brendan Smith added an empty netter to seal the 4-1 victory. Howard earned his seventh win of the season, improving his record to 7-2-4 in 13 games. His goals-against average dropped to 1.96, while his .962 save-percentage Friday improved his season save-percentage to an impressive .926.
“I thought all-around that was probably our best game we played all season,” said Howard.
“I think we felt good today,” said Zetterberg. “Obviously we had a few days between games, so we felt refreshed, started well.”
Jurco Returns to the Lineup
Young winger Tomas Jurco rejoined the team after being a healthy scratch for the last few games. However, he was not able to contribute much to the game.
“Jurcs was good. Big, fast, and competitive,” said Mike Babcock.
We will have to wait and see if Babcock’s short but sweet assessment of Jurco earns him another start on Sunday versus the Montreal Canadiens. It will be the team’s last in the four game home stand before they hit the road next week.