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Franzen scores later winner as Red Wings beat Blue Jackets to sweep series

NHL.com @NHL

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Detroit Red Wings are moving on, although maybe with a little less swagger.

Johan Franzen scored on a power play with 46.6 seconds left, giving the defending Stanley Cup champions a 6-5 victory and a series sweep over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

The call that led to the man advantage was hotly disputed by the Blue Jackets, who were assessed a bench minor for having too many men on the ice.

"It definitely was the hardest (game of the series)," said Detroit's Marian Hossa, who had two goals. "We got lucky at the end when they had six on the ice."

Marian Hossa had two goals, Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom each had a goal and an assist, and Daniel Cleary also scored for the reigning Stanley Cup champions, who will await their conference semifinal opponent.

Franzen scored on a rebound after Jiri Hudler skated along the goal-line and had his shot blocked by goalie Steve Mason.

"It was a good move by Huds," coach Mike Babcock said. "Anytime the pressures on at the end of a game, all you've got to do is take it to the net. That's what he did."

Rick Nash, Kristian Huselius and Kris Russell each had a goal and an assist, and R.J. Umberger and Fredrik Modin also scored for Columbus, making its first foray into the playoffs in the franchise's eight seasons.

"We were great. Our fans were great tonight," Nash said. "That was our best game by far. We proved to ourselves, we proved to the whole city, that we can keep up with them."

Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall each had two assists for the Red Wings, who won a series on the road for the eighth straight time. Their last series-ending win in Detroit was in the 2002 Stanley Cup finals against Carolina.

The Red Wings had pounded the Blue Jackets by a combined 12-2 in the first three games.

With a rowdy crowd of 18,889 roaring on every Columbus hit, shot and save, the Blue Jackets finally gave their fans a taste of playoff intensity. The crowd stood for the entire third period.

"We had a hard time putting them away," Franzen said. "This was their first playoff, so they wanted to play hard for the crowd."

Detroit led 3-1 after a period, but things got interesting as Columbus scored twice to tie it and then later came back from another two-goal deficit to head into the third period tied at 5.

"We had the game in a good situation there, but we made some mistakes," Babcock said. "Give them credit, they played with a lot of heart. And their fans were fantastic."

Rostislav Klesla's seeing-eye backdoor pass led to Nash's goal to cut it to 3-2. Columbus, last in the NHL all season on the power play, then converted its second man-advantage in two tries when Umberger skated in unimpeded from the left wing and slid a backhander past goalier Chris Osgood. Mason even assisted with a long stretch pass to initiate the rush.

The arena shook.

Hossa netted the next two goals - his first of this postseason - for a 5-3 lead. But the Blue Jackets didn't fold.

On a 2-on-1, Russell whistled a wrister past Osgood. Then defenceman Aaron Rome, inserted into the lineup because Jan Hejda was out after blocking a shot with his ankle, flipped two shots from the left point. The second led to a juicy rebound for Modin for an easy backhander.

The last time Columbus scored four goals in a period? That was on March 7, when they piled on the Red Wings 8-2 in Detroit in one of the benchmark games in franchise history.

Osgood's regular-season save percentage (.887) ranked 44th of the 47 goalies with enough starts to qualify statistically. His goals-against average (3.09) was 40th of 46.

But he had been money in the first three games, stopping 76 of the 78 shots he had seen. But by the end of Game 4, the crowd was taunting him with chants of "Oz-zie! Oz-zie!"

The first period was wide open, with numerous scoring chances.

The Blue Jackets blinked first, picking up an ill-advised roughing penalty. Just 29 seconds later Detroit was on the board. Lidstrom had an unobstructed shot from the left point that glanced off Mason's blocker. The puck then ricocheted off defenceman Fedor Tyutin's leg and into the net.

The Blue Jackets counterpunched with a goal by Huselius on Columbus' first shot of the game. But less than a minute later, Holmstrom made it 2-1 when his second whack on a loose puck in a scrum found the net.

Mason then surrendered a soft goal after Tomas Kopecky's drive thudded off the back boards and Cleary collected it and jammed it inside the near post.

Notes: Osgood finished with 27 saves, Mason with 35. ... The Red Wings were 3-for-6 on the power play, Columbus finished 2-for-2. ... In the post-season for the 18th year in a row, Detroit was up 3-0 in a first-round series for first time since 2000.

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