Franzen’s Hat Trick Leads Red Wings Past Avalanche

Johan Franzen scored three goals Tuesday night, helping the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

The win was Detroit’s second in a row after a six-game losing streak.

Nicklas Lidstrom got the Wings on the board at 8:54 of the first period. Colorado defenseman Ryan Wilson cleared the puck off the end boards right out into the slot, where Lidstrom was all alone for a one-timer past goalie Semyon Varlamov.

Franzen’s first of the night, originally credited to Valtteri Filppula, gave Detroit a two-goal lead just 2:36 into the second. Filppula carried the puck into the Colorado zone on a power play and held up along the right wing boards, giving Henrik Zetterberg time to get to the bottom of the right circle. Filppula sent the puck to Zetterberg, who moved it on to Jiri Hudler at the top of the left faceoff circle for a pass back to Filppula, who fired a shot past Varlamov that was tipped by Franzen in the slot on the way through.

Another deflection 4:17 later would give Franzen two goals on the night, when he tipped Niklas Kronwall‘s slap-pass from the left point past Varlamov from the slot.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere replaced Varlamov in the Avalanche net after allowing two power play goals on three shots with the man advantage.

Colorado got on the board with a power play tally of their own at 8:18 of the middle period, with rookie Gabriel Landeskog banging the puck out from under Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard and into the net.

Danny Cleary restored the Red Wings’ three-goal lead with 5:14 remaining in regulation, first tipping a drive by Pavel Datsyuk, then going to the net to knock home the rebound.

The Avs cut it to 4-2 with a Milan Hejduk power play goal with 3:05 remaining. Hejduk picked up a loose puck right in front of the Detroit net and backhanded it past Howard.

Franzen completed his hat trick to wrap up the game’s scoring, lofting a backhander from the neutral zone into the empty Colorado net with 32 seconds remaining.

Each team scored twice on the power play on the night. The Avalanche had three tries with the extra attacker while the Red Wings had five.

Howard made 24 stops on 26 Colorado shots. Varlamov stopped 13 of the 16 shots he faced before Giguere came in and made 12 saves on 13 shots.

The Red Wings are back in action on Friday when they host the Edmonton Oilers.

Todd Beretuzzi (illness) and Patrick Eaves (back) were the scratched forwards for Detroit, while Mike Commodore was a healthy scratch on the blueline.

Postgame: Avalanche @ Red Wings – 11/8

That’s two solid games in a row for the Red Wings. Not earth-shattering but definitely a good sign.

Detroit’s top players continue to get going. Lidstrom with another goal, Franzen with the hat trick (one of which could easily have gone to Filppula), and Cleary turned a Datsyuk shot into a goal.

Even Ericsson, who I thought was pretty awful overall, had one real nice play where he broke into the Colorado zone and carried the puck in behind the net to get Hudler a chance. Hudler choked on it, which is some kind of karma for Ericsson, but it was close.

Howard wasn’t tested much but I wouldn’t put either goal squarely on him. The first shouldn’t have happened at all (I don’t care if he was pushed in or not, I just think it’s impossible that the ref saw the puck so he should have blown it dead). On the second one, the puck should have been cleared away by White. Unfortunate for Howard but not the end of the world when the offense is making up for it.

Aside from the part of the second period after Colorado’s first goal, the Red Wings did a good job of controlling the pace of the game. That’s important as they come out of this slump and not easy against a fast team like the Avalanche.

Red Wings – Penguins Postgame Notes

I’ll qualify the thoughts that follow by saying that I didn’t see the entire game tonight. As previously mentioned, I joined late due to another appointment.

From what I did see, tonight was the first night since all of the injuries hit that I thought the Red Wings actually looked shorthanded.

Whether it was because they are missing so many players (which they are) or because the Penguins played a very solid game (which they did) – or some combination thereof – I just kind of had a feeling like it was going to require a Herculean effort for Detroit to get a win tonight. That no matter what they could throw at the Penguins, Pittsburgh could stop it.

I don’t have stats to back that up, it’s just a feeling I got watching the game. That the Wings didn’t have enough gas to get it done.

The funny thing is that it wasn’t a lack of depth. The third and fourth lines had some great shifts.

It wasn’t that the top (remaining) guys weren’t performing. Henrik Zetterberg made a hell of a play and Patrick Eaves made a great pass on Johan Franzen‘s goal.

It was a sense of sloppiness that maybe comes from unfamiliarity with teammates. Joey MacDonald taking too long to move the puck or Niklas Kronwall taking too much time to make a pass. Turnovers that turned into goals.

The Red Wings weren’t clicking like they can. Against the Blue Jackets last weekend it didn’t matter as much. Against the Penguins tonight it did.

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