Given his proven track record in the playoffs, Johan Franzen must be relieved the regular season is over. The big forward with tremendous hands around the net and a laser-like wrist shot has been unusually silent since his five-goal outburst Feb. 2 in Ottawa. He scored only two goals in his final 27 games. No need to worry, though, the Detroit Red Wings say, because they can count on Franzen to step up in the postseason. He has 31 goals and 59 points in 51 postseason games the past three years. "He had a real good start to the season and, then, it didn't go as good for him at the end. But the good thing about the Mule is he seems to really kick 'er in gear this time of year," coach Mike Babcock said. "He's a big body, can shoot the puck. He loves to score goals. He's very capable." The Red Wings need Franzen to deliver, especially in the absence of leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg, who will miss Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals Wednesday against the Phoenix Coyotes. He might not play in the series because of a knee injury. Franzen led the team with 28 goals. But he wasn't physically engaged often enough the second half of the season. He wasn't hard on defenses or hard to knock off the puck. "He's a pure goal scorer," teammate Danny Cleary said. "We need him to be skating hard, on the puck, physical and shooting whenever he can. "When he gets on a roll, look out ... because he's big, great hands, fast. When he gets going early in the game, he completely dominates."
Red Wings ready to count on Johan Franzen for usual postseason production
Michigan Live | Apr 13