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Wings not surprised by 'Mule'

Thursday, 04.14.2011 / 5:57 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com 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

It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun.

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday
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