The Detroit Red Wings are currently second in points in the Western Conference and despite goaltender issues, the team has been one of the hottest in the league. Last night it was forward Johan Franzen who stole the spotlight for the Wing as he scored five goals on 10 shots against a struggling Ottawa Senators team.
It was the Red Wings first visit to Ottawa since 2008 and proved to be a night to remember for Franzen. Franzen, who is nicknamed “the mule” became the first player to score five goals in a game this season, during their 7-5 victory. He became the first NHL player to accomplish the feat since Marian Gaborik, then with the Minnesota Wild, did it against the New York Rangers on Dec. 20, 2007. Before him, you would have to go back to 1996 when Detroit’s Segei Fedorov netted five in a single contest.
"I’ve only been in here twice I think, but I scored two goals the last time I was here," Franzen told the NHL website. "I like this building and guys were setting me up all night.”
Franzen got his hat trick by scoring on a power-play just 30 seconds into the third period. He added his fourth goal shortly after, which turned out to be the game winning goal. His fifth goal came with the net empty and just 34 seconds left in the game, which solidified the win. It was the Wings third win in their past four games. Henrik Zetterberg, who is Franzen’s linemate, tallied up three assists as they remain one of the best lines in the NHL.
"What can I say, it was just one of those nights where everything went my way. Good way to come back from the break," Franzen added.
Currently, Franzen is fifth in the league in goals with 26. Add that to his 15 assists and he has 41 points in 49 games.
If the Wings hope to go deep in the playoffs this spring, it will come down to two things – their goaltending and the ability for Franzen’s line to be able to continue to find ways to put the puck in the net. They don’t seem to show any signs of cooling off and are creating headaches for their opponents night in and night out.