Franzen Returns to Score Game-Winner as Red Wings Beat Flames

Johan Franzen returned to the Detroit lineup from the head injury that kept him out of last Saturday’s matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes and scored the third period goal that lifted the Red Wings over Calgary Flames Thursday night.

At 7:55 of the third period, Franzen flipped the puck onto Miikka Kiprusoff‘s shoulder. It rolled down the Calgary goalie’s back and into the net to give the Red Wings a 3-2 lead.

Todd Bertuzzi snapped a shot over that same shoulder on a partial breakaway with 3:17 remaining to wrap up the 4-2 win.

The Flames had opened the scoring with 4:36 left in the first period. Mikael Backlund jumped into the slot uncovered and took a pass from behind the net from Curtis Glencross, banging the puck past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard.

Henrik Zetterberg got the Red Wings on the board with 2:31 left in the period. Tomas Holmstrom gained the Calgary zone and worked the puck to Pavel Datsyuk as he and Zetterberg streaked into the zone. Datsyuk carried it through the right faceoff circle and dumped it across to Zetterberg to snap into the open side of the net.

Backlund put the Flames back in front 41 seconds later, swatting a bouncing puck past Howard on his backhand.

Nicklas Lidstrom‘s blueline blast on a Detroit power play evened things back up at 3:51 of the second period.

Lidstrom’s goal was the only power play goal of the night. Detroit had five chances with the extra attacker while Calgary had six.

Howard made 34 saves on 36 shots on the night to get the win. Kiprusoff stopped 26 of Detroit’s 30 chances.

Red Wings – Flames Postgame Notes

Thoughts on the Red Wings’ 4-2 win over the Flames last night…

Jimmy Howard was pretty much spectacular. He had several stops early in the first and again early in the third that kept the Red Wings in it. Neither of the goals were his fault, as Backlund was left alone in the slot on the first one and the second was a bit of a fluke.

The power play looked better than it has all season. I wasn’t happy with the last chance with the extra attacker but in general Detroit was moving the puck better and holding the points to keep the puck in the zone. I liked the Lidstrom-Modano pairing, they seemed more comfortable than Lidstrom-Kronwall. Still can’t wait to get Rafalski back.

Henrik Zetterberg‘s goal to get the Red Wings on the board and Todd Bertuzzi‘s to end the scoring were fantastic for two different reasons. Zetterberg’s was made possible by great passing to get him the puck and Bertuzzi’s was just an incredible shot.

Mikael Backlund should never have been left alone in the slot for Calgary’s first goal. That’s becoming a trend this season and it needs to stop.

The Wings came out slow again. Howard kept them in it but he shouldn’t have to.

Calgary outshot Detroit 36-30. Part of that is the slow start but shots were 15-10 in favor of the Flames in the third period. The Wings’ need to control the puck more to limit opposition shots.

Red Wings – Flames Pregame Notes

The Red Wings are back at it tonight after a four-night break, hosting the Calgary Flames.

Johan Franzen will return to the lineup, missing only one game after taking an elbow to the face from Mark Fistric in Dallas last week. That’s the only lineup change for Detroit, with no one coming out as the team iced only seventeen skaters last Sunday.

Jimmy Howard gets the start in net. Calgary may be going with their backup, Henrik Karlsson.