Johan Franzen’s feat in Detroit’s most recent victory hadn’t been accomplished in the NHL in more than three years. His consistent production against the Columbus Blue Jackets may help the Red Wings earn another win against their Central Division rivals.
Detroit shoots for its fourth victory this season against Columbus when the teams meet Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Franzen scored five goals in a 7-5 win against Ottawa on Wednesday, becoming the first to do so since Marian Gaborik on Dec. 20, 2007. He has two goals and two assists in the four meetings with the Blue Jackets, in which Detroit (31-13-6) has won three.
Henrik Zetterberg assisted on three of Franzen’s scores against the Senators, while Kris Draper and Niklas Kronwall also added goals.
“Guys were setting me up all night,” Franzen said. “(Zetterberg) and (Todd Bertuzzi) didn’t want to shoot it themselves, they were just trying to set me up.”
Jimmy Howard made 29 saves for the Red Wings, who have won three of four to maintain their hold on second place in the Western Conference, seven points back of Vancouver.
Howard is 5-1-0 despite having a 3.61 goals-against average in his last eight appearances. He was pulled after allowing two first-period goals in a 3-2 shootout loss to Columbus on Jan. 14 and is 7-0-1 with a 1.59 GAA in his career against the Blue Jackets.
Franzen’s overtime goal helped Detroit overcome a goal and two assists from Rick Nash in a 6-5 win over the Blue Jackets in the second game of a home-and-home series Jan. 15.
Nash extended his point streak to nine with an assist in a 7-4 loss to Chicago on Tuesday. The Blue Jackets (23-22-5) have lost two straight and are 3-7-2 in their last 12.
They blew a 3-2 second-period lead and allowed the Blackhawks to score two short-handed goals while Columbus went 0 for 5 on the power play.
“That was an ugly game for sure,” coach Scott Arniel said. “There were lots of chances and it was pretty sloppy.”
Steve Mason made 17 saves in his second straight loss. He’s started all four meetings against Detroit this season, going 1-2-1 with a 3.19 GAA. Mason is 1-4-2 with a 2.81 GAA in his last seven versus the Red Wings.
Derick Brassard scored against Chicago and has two goals and two assists against the Red Wings this season.
Columbus has dropped five straight and nine of its last 10 visits to Detroit, giving up 14 goals in the last three losses.
Three of Nash’s five career hat tricks have come against the Red Wings, including in an 8-2 victory March 7, 2009 – the last time the Blue Jackets won in Detroit.
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