When he was sent head-first into the Joe Louis Arena boards, you could hear the deflated gasp straight through the television set. For an instant it seemed that the Red Wings’ playoff hopes were about to go down with The Mule, starting another long offseason. It didn’t take number 93 long to receive the necessary stitches and get back on the bench ready to come back in. This is playoff hockey and Johan Franzen was made to play in its high pressured games.
If anybody doubts the character of Franzen, his verbal bench battle with Coach Mike Babcock was something made of legends. As Franzen had found his way back to the bench, Babcock questioned both Franzen and the Wings’ trainer on why Johan was not wearing a mask. Citing discomfort and a complete refusal of wearing such a clunky item, Franzen then went on the ice and sparked the team to the solid play that has defined his postseason career.
If you think Franzen has been sparking the Red Wings in the postseason for the past few years, it’s because he has…
2007 – Franzen is slashed by Flames goalie Jamie McLennan in the stomach in game five. The next night he scores the series clinching goal for Detroit in double overtime.
2008 – Sets franchise record with 13 postseason goals. Scores first career hat trick to defeat Avalanche in game two of their series. Two games later he had his second career hat trick.
2009 – Scores 23 points in 23 games. He ends up tied for the league lead in game winning goals with three and top five in most statistical categories.
2010 – Scores four goals in a game, including three in a span of 3:26. Leads Red Wings in scoring with 18 points in 12 games.