The St. Louis Blues likely aren't looking forward to seeing Detroit's Johan Franzen again.
Franzen will look to continue his offensive surge when the Red Wings and Blues wrap up their home-and-home series Friday at Joe Louis Arena.
|Johan Franzen has three game-winners among his 11 goals and four assists in March. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Franzen scored the game-winner on the power play in the third period of Detroit's 2-1 win in St. Louis on Tuesday. It was the third game-winner this month and seventh this season for Franzen, who has 11 goals and four assists in 11 games in March.
Franzen had scored just 12 goals coming into this month. He also had the game-winner in a 4-1 win over the Blues on March 5.
"Once it starts rolling, the puck keeps coming to you," Franzen said. "That's how it gets once in a while, you get lucky and everything is going your way. Let's hope it stays that way as long as possible."
Franzen has taken advantage of his promotion to the top power-play unit, with Tomas Holmstrom missing the last eight games with a groin strain.
"Obviously he's a real good player and he earned the right to play more just by playing well but also by guys getting injured," coach Mike Babcock said. "He's got a lot of confidence and we're a better team because of his development. He's a big, big man who's talented."
Babcock said Tuesday's win was a good warm-up for the postseason.
"There's no practice that I can run that gives you exactly what it's like in the playoffs," he said. "You're either up one or down one or tied going into the third every single night, that's what it is. That means be poised in your own zone, don't give up anything, be real patient and then drive to the net as much as you can."
This game could see the Detroit debut this season of fan favorite Darren McCarty, who played for the Red Wings from 1993-2004 and helped the team win three Stanley Cups. McCarty has been nursing rib injuries since he was recalled from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League on March 7. He'd been assigned to Grand Rapids on a conditioning loan after being signed last month to a one-year contract.
Tuesday's win was the third in four games against the Blues for Detroit (51-20-6), which has won four straight overall, outscoring opponents 15-6. The Red Wings are closing in on their fourth Presidents' Trophy in six seasons, leading San Jose by six points with five games left.
Andy McDonald scored the lone goal for the Blues (30-34-12), who have already been eliminated from the postseason hunt. Tuesday's game was St. Louis' first at home following a season-long nine-game road trip.
The Blues have lost 15 of 17.
"Our situation is we're out of the playoffs but there's a lot on the line for everyone in this locker room," McDonald said. "We want to play hard for our fans, we want to give them something to cheer about."