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Wings not surprised by 'Mule'

Thursday, 04.14.2011 / 5:57 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / 2011 WCQF: Detroit-Phoenix Live Blog

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2011 WCQF: Detroit-Phoenix Live Blog
Wings not surprised by 'Mule'
The Red Wings talked a lot about how they just knew Johan Franzen would show up big in the playoffs, and then the Swedish power forward known as "The Mule" proved them right in Game 1.

His rocket wrist shot through the legs of a defenseman and past a stunned Ilya Bryzgalov was the highlight, but he also added an assist on Detroit's first goal, logged five shots on goal, missed the net five times and dished out four hits.

He even blocked a shot and won the only faceoff he took. All that after being somewhat invisible during the final 27 games he played in the regular season -- a span in which Detroit’s leading goal scorer potted just 2 goals.

The performance wasn't exactly "ho-hum" for his teammates to see, but close.

"He's been happier the last few days," forward Danny Cleary said on Thursday. "He just hates the regular season, I think. When he's going, he's very hard to stop. He gets on this roll of just complete dominance, physical and skating. He can be so powerful, with and without the puck, and his shot is lethal. So it just continued on, him playing well in the postseason."
Quote of the Day

We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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