DETROIT – Johan Franzen is known for this ability to score in the postseason.
After a 29-goal regular season, which led the team, Franzen scored just one goal and had no assists in the Wings’ first-round matchup with Nashville and the squad was bounced from the postseason in five games.
“It was a game-winner, don’t forget,” Franzen grinned. “I couldn’t really get anything going, that’s the way it was. I don’t really know why, I just couldn’t get it in the net. It’s always frustrating when you lose.”
Franzen’s goal didn’t come off a shot, it came when a shot from Brad Stuart went off his leg in Game 2.
His career playoff numbers are astonishing, scoring 37 goals to go with 35 assists in 87 games.
“Two years ago we played 12 playoff games and he had one point in every game,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s was one of the guys we look to score. (Nashville) did a real good job on him.”
In last year’s playoffs, Franzen had just two goals and one assist, but was hobbled by an ankle injury he suffered against Phoenix.
“I don’t think you want to point at the Mule,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I don’t think we scored even strength at all. I think you want to point at all of us.”
Franzen is your classic streaky goal scorer and is often criticized because of that.
After a five-goal outburst in Ottawa two years ago, Franzen went 14 straight games without a goal and finished and had just two goals over his final 27 games.
“You always get that criticism when you lose,” Franzen said. “There are always haters when you lose. You know you’re going to have to listen to that, but you can’t pay too much attention to that.
“The year I scored 13 (in the playoffs), I had one goal in the first four or five games,” Franzen added. “You never know when you’re going to get going. It is what it is.”
Franzen felt the team looked drained on the ice.
“We need to have more fun out there, get some confidence back,” Franzen said. “We looked like a drained team kind of in most of the games. Get some joy back, believing in ourselves, knowing that we’re a good team and play for each other.”
The Wings ended the regular season going 7-11-4.
“We didn’t have a good ending to the season, including playoffs,” Franzen said. “You’ve got to come into playoffs with confidence.”
Franzen is averaging 29.5 goals per person since the 2007-08 campaign, which excludes his injury-shortened 2009-10 season. That makes the eight years left on his contract that has a salary-cap hit of $3.95 million a season, seems reasonable despite his lack of scoring consistency.
“We’ve got a super team in here,” Franzen said. “We’ve just got to realize that and find a way, because it’s so hard to score on some teams.
“We’ve got good players,” Franzen continued. “If we need to find more pieces, I don’t know, but the focus is on getting the pieces that we have going again and tell ourselves that we are a good team and we can do this.”