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WINGS RIDE MULE TO MUST WIN.....RED WINGS 7, San Jose 1, Th 5/6/10
Posted on: 05-06-2010

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>>caption:  FRANZEN (#93) COMPLETES
RIGHT GOALIE PAD (behind goal stick)<<


    Johan Franzen set and tied a pile
of records and just missed establishing
a few more to lead the Red Wings to a
7-1 "must win" Thursday night over San Jose.
    The Mule factored in on all but one of Detroit's lucky seven goals by scoring
four times and adding a pair of assists including a "Natural Hat Trick" of three
consecutive goals in the opening period.
    The win keeps the Wings alive in the NHL playoff quarter-finals, still trailing
the Sharks 3-1 entering game five of the best-of-7 series late night Saturday
out west.
    Detroit took a 5-0/1st-Per lead to chase Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabakov after
20-mins. The only goal against Wings netminder Jimmy Howard came with just
48.5-sec left in the 2nd-Per during a 5-on-3 Sharks power play when Dany Heatley
(#2) wired a slapshot from atop the inside edge of the right circle.
    The Sharks turned into the chippy Charlestown Chiefs for the final 40-mins
with just about everybody but Reggie Dunlop parading to the penalty box. Joe
Thornton and Ryane Clowe of S-Jose and Kris Draper of Detroit all were assessed
3rd-Per misconducts. Thornton also gave Detroit a 4-min power play by receiving a
double roughing minor early in that frame. Midway through the third Scott Nichol of
the Sharks and Justin Abdelkader of the Red Wings went to the box with 7-mins each
for their fight.
    But the night belonged to Franzen, who made both Wings TV analyst Mickey
Redmond and Detroit coach Mike Babcock look like geniuses. Redmond said in his
pre-game comments Detroit needed Franzen to come up big in the lamp lighting
department in order to avoid an early summer vacation. Babcock flip-flopped Franzen
and Valtteri Filppula on Detroit's top two forward lines, partnering The Mule with
CEN Henrik Zetterberg and another power forward Todd Bertuzzi on the wings.
    Babcock's shuffle worked with Bertuzzi and Filppula each getting credit for a goal.
    San Jose buzzed early courtesy of a foolish Detroit penalty for too many men on the
ice, but Howard made 11 1st-Per saves while Detroit scored five times on nine shots at
    Franzen took a left wing shot that bounced off bothersome Bertuzzi (#2) just in front
of the crease. The puck banked off Bertuzzi's left leg and through the legs of Nabakov
at 5:40/1.               
    Franzen then scored his 1st-Per "Natural Hat Trick" with three uninterrupted goals
in a span of 3:26. Franzen (#3) turnaround backhanded the rebound of a Zetterberg shot
at 7:50/1. Franzen (#4) then took a Bertuzzi drop pass to wrister from outside the top
of the left circle at 10:43/1. Franzen (#5) then snapped his own rebound at 11:16/1 for
an unassisted goal and a 4-0 Detroit margin.
    The Wings made it 5-0 on a fluky goal credited to the last Detroiter to touch the
puck, Filppula (#4), at 18:50/1. Sharks DEF Dan Boyle back-passed out of the left corner,
the puck struck his blueline partner Douglas Murray and went between the legs of poor
Nabakov. It's the second time this post-season Boyle has initiated an "own goal."  
    Bertuzzi cross-passed to Brian Rafalski (#2) in the left circle for a one-timer PPG
at 3:05/2 to make it 6-0 Wings.
    Franzen (#6) got his fourth goal of the game at 7:33/3 for the 7-1 final, again with
Bertuzzi getting the primary assist on a broken stick dish-back off a rebound of a Nick
Lidstrom slapshot for Detroit's third power play marker of the night.        
    Franzen's three goals in 3:26 came within 2-sec of the fastest three goals scored in
an NHL playoff game, a record set by Philadelphia's Tim Kerr in 1985. Franzen's six points
in a playoff game is a new Red Wing record. His four goals in a game ties the club mark
set by Carl Liscombe in 1945 and equaled by Ted Lindsay in 1955. Franzen's four-pack came
within one of the NHL mark of five goals in a playoff contest (several times). His four scoring
points in the 1st-Per set a new Red Wing record for any period, snapping the old mark of
three set by several. Franzen's streak of a goal and/or an assist in all 10 of Detroit's playoff
games this year and in the last 11 Wings post-season contests extended his own club records.
    Not only did Franzen have a career night, but so did Bertuzzi with 1-G & 4-A for a career-
best 5-P in a playoff game.
    Lidstrom and Zetterberg had 2-A each.
    Detroit outshot San Jose 37-29 including 14-3 in the lockdown 3rd-Per. Enjoying a power
play advantage for the first time in the series, 17 Wings shots came on the p-play.
    West German native Thomas Griess made 26-SV on 28-SOG over the final two periods.    
    Detroit snapped the Sharks' six game post-season winning streak.


R-WINGS H-COACH MIKE BABCOCK:   "The guys were ready to play. When you get hot,
you just shoot the puck. Things went well for us here tonight. In saying that, we live
to play another day, which is what this is all about...We've got to continue to do a
good job. It's been a tight series in our mind. We closed the gap here a little bit, but
we've got a long way to go."

R-WINGS L-WING JOHAN FRANZEN:   "It's just easy to put it in the net [when you're
"in the zone"]. It feels like you've got all the time in the world. When you don't have the
confidence, it feels like you can't score into an open net...I think I was like everyone
else in here. We were a little bit upset how we lost the last game [in overtime]. We had
a little bit more fire tonight. We've got to win three more games, so I can't get too excited
right now....I'm only focusing on the next game...You don't want to get swept, you want
to show your home fans that you want to win this thing. We wanted to have a good game
for them. We won this one and now we've got to win the next one."

R-WINGS DEF/CAPT NICKLAS LIDSTROM:   "We were the desperate team we had to be.
That first period, our first two lines got really hot. We spent a lot of time in the offensive
zone, and 'Mule' got hot. He was shooting at the right moments and finding the corners.
It was great to see 'Mule' step up the way he did..I haven't [ever] been with a guy being
so hot for five, six minutes like that, and sharing the puck."

R-WINGS Rt-WING TODD BERTUZZI:   "I was a little reluctant to take [credit for the first
goal]. I was standing in front of the net and it ended up hitting me. Goals are goals. Who
cares who gets them?...[Franzen] had jump. Everything he was shooting was going in...
I know it's boring to say but it's exactly like everyone has been saying -- it's only one game.
We know what kind of team they are over there but we really know what kind of team we
are over here. We're going to give it every bit we have."

SHARKS H-COACH TODD McLELLAN:   "If I have to go in [to S-Jose's locker room] right now
and talk to them, shame on them. They saw the same game that I watched. We're all very
disappointed. I haven't used that word in a good month. We're all disappointed. We weren't
prepared when we knew what was coming...[Franzen] came to play.He's a huge man -- that's
why they call him The Mule. He came to play, he worked hard, he shot the puck and it went
in the net. He can do that...We have players that can do that too. They just need to bring it."

SHARKS DEF/CAP ROB BLAKE:   "[Franzen has] done it before in the playoffs. He had time to
get shots off and he had time to get to the net. They played in our zone pretty much the
whole first period."


    The Red Wings were shorthanded on defense most of the night. Sharks Capt. Rob
Blake caught Detroit DEF Brad Stuart with a clean hip check along the left boards
moments before Bertuzzi's first goal of the game. Stuart did not return, but Babcock
said he expects Stuart (lower body injury, believed to be a charley horse) to be ready
for game five in San Jose Saturday.  
    Detroit has outscored its foes Phoenix and San Jose 13-2 in two potential elimination
games this spring.
    Red Wing fans littered the ice with hats on Franzen's second goal because Bertuzzi's
first goal of the game was originally announced as Franzen's. At least those who tossed
their caps didn't do it in vain because Franzen scored two more. The hats slightly
out-numbered the Octo-tosses Thursday.
    HoFamers Norm Ullman (twice exactly a year apart on 4/7/63 and 4/7/64, both
vs Chicago) and Steve Yzerman (1996) had the Detroit record of five points in a
playoff game until Franzen had six Thursday.
    Franzen has 35-G in 74 career playoff appearances.
    Up from AHL Grand Rapids, CEN Mattias Ritola made his NHL playoff debut in place
of healthy scratch Jason Williams. Ritola (1-A in 7-GP in callups the last two seasons
with Detroit)  was pointless and even in his plus-minus in 7:45 of PT. Ritola is expected
to replace Williams on the Detroit roster next season.
    Thornton was one of three Sharks who were a minus-3 on the night and led all players
in the game with 16-PIM.
    Activated for the first time in the series, Hancock, UP native and former Detroit
Compuware and Michigan Wolverine CEN Dwight Helminen took two minor penalties in his
less than 8-mins of ice time for San Jose and Detroit scored each time Helminen was in the box.


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