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Mule regains confidence, sets two records

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROITJohan Franzen admitted after his record-breaking performance on Thursday that his confidence in the Red Wings’ Western Conference semifinals series had begun to waiver.

“I’ve been having some good opportunities, but we’ve been scoring some goals on our line and it doesn’t matter who scores them,” said Franzen, who registered four goals (on five shots on goal) and two assists in the Wings’ 7-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 4.

“But I’ve been struggling a bit on the goal-scoring side,” he said.

Franzen, who missed 55 games in the regular-season after having surgery to repair an ACL, set a pair of new Red Wings’ playoff records and tied another Thursday night.

Franzen’s six-point performance, which helped the Red Wings stave-off elimination against the San Jose Sharks, is the best individual playoff game outing in franchise history.

The Red Wings are trying to become the third NHL team in playoff history – and the first since 1975 – to win a series after dropping the first three games of a best-of-seven game series. Game 5 is scheduled for Saturday in San Jose.

His six-points tied him with nine other players for third-most in NHL history, the last being St. Louis forward Geoff Courtnall, who had a goal and five assists in the Blues’ 8-3 win over Los Angeles on April 23, 1998.
“It’s been tough lately putting the puck in the net,” Franzen said. “Hopefully I can get some confidence here and the team will get some confidence and we can have a good game when we go to San Jose.”

He scored four of his points in the first period – also a new Wings’ record – helping the Wings to a 5-0 lead over the Sharks in a must-win Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals at Joe Louis Arena.

Franzen’s first three goals came as a natural hat trick in 3:26, giving the Wings a 4-0 lead. He added an assist in the second period on Brian Rafalski’s power-play goal that gave the Wings a 5-0 cushion.

“We got a really good start,” Franzen said. “We scored on our first three shifts, or something like that. I’ve never been a part of that before, but it was one game. We wanted to win this game; now we have to focus on the next one.”

Franzen’s four points are the most ever recorded by a Wings’ player in a single period of a Stanley Cup playoff game. Nine different Wings have registered a three-point period, the last being Henrik Zetterberg, who had two goals and an assist at Colorado in Game 4 of the 2008 Western Conference semifinals.

His first-period outburst also made Franzen the 13th player in NHL history to score four points in one period of a playoff game. The last player to do it was Dallas forward Brad Richards, who had a goal and three assists in the third period of a 5-2 win over San Jose on April 27, 2008.

Franzen is the first Wings’ player in 55-years to score four goals in a playoff game since legendary Ted Lindsay did it in a 7-1 victory over Montreal in Game 2 of the 1955 Stanley Cup finals at Olympia Stadium.

He’s the third player in Red Wings’ history to collect five-points in a playoff game. Norm Ullman was the first to accomplish the feat, doing so twice one year apart on April 7 in 1963 and 1964, and Steve Yzerman did so in Game 2 of an 8-3 win over St. Louis in Game 2 of the 1996 Western Conference semifinals.

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