DETROIT – According to Elias Sports Bureau, Johan Franzen has scored the game-winning goal in 12 of the Red Wings’ last 40 games, dating back to last March – that’s over 25 percent of the game-winning goals, which is nearly unheard of in the modern game.
Everyone knows the tear that Franzen has been on since late last season. But actually look at his numbers, and you will see that his performance in the last few months has been astonishing.
Franzen etched his name into Hockeytown history last spring, when he broke one of Gordie Howe’s records. With an overtime goal against Nashville on March 30, Franzen broke Mr. Hockey’s record for game-winners in a single month.
But Mule didn’t stop there. His knack for finding the back of the net in the most important situations spilled into the playoffs, where he scored the game-winner in five of 22 playoff games in route to a Stanley Cup championship.
Oh yes, and he’s trying to continue his clutch performances this year, after scoring the decisive goal in Ottawa on Saturday, with 77-seconds left, to give the Red Wings their first win this season.
Before his March explosion, Franzen had scored the game-winning goal only eight times in 229 regular and postseason NHL games. However, his first goal in the NHL was a game-winner, in a game against Los Angeles on October 13, 2005.
It also needs to be noted that he hasn’t even played in all of the last 40 games, missing six games – from the Dallas series into the Pittsburgh series – with concussion-like symptoms. So subtract six from the 40 games, and that means Franzen has scored the game-winner in 12 of his last 34 games, which is a 35 percent rate.
To put these numbers into perspective, the all-time leader in game-winners, Jaromir Jagr, scored the winner in 8 percent of his games. Brett Hull, in second place, accomplished the feat also 8 percent of the time. Wayne Gretzky netted the winner only 6 percent of the time.