Finding His Inner Mule: Franzen Still Struggling to Find His Post Season Form
When the playoffs roll around, Johan Franzen is usually a game breaker for the Red Wings. Just three games into the 2012 playoffs and the 6-foot-3, 218 pound winger has yet to establish himself. Franzen plays his best when he is agitated like he was in game two. His play in that game was the style Detroit fans have grown accustomed to in the post season.
As one of the larger players on the Red Wings roster, they are relying on the 32 year old forward to provide a physical presence in addition to the offense he brings to the table. So far Franzen hasn’t done either for Detroit and similar to his game during this past regular season, he hasn’t seemed to be fully engaged yet. Franzen’s lackadaisical play has also lead to four minor penalties – the most among Detroit players.
Franzen set big expectations as a playoff performer by picking up 13 goals and 18 points in 16 2008 NHL playoff games and following that up with 12 goals and 23 points in 23 2009 NHL playoff games. Playing mostly on a line with Valterri Filppula and Jiri Hudler, the Vetlanda Sweden native has scored one goal in three playoff games. Franzen nearly had his second goal of the series on Sunday, but the goal was waived off because the goal cross the line after time had expired.
The Red Wings need Franzen to find his post season form quickly if they want to advance beyond the Nashville Predators. Franzen needs to make his presence felt on each and every shift. Three games into this series, he doesn’t look close to the player he was in 2008 or 2009. The Wings need him to find his post season form quickly to help provide scoring depth and alleviate pressure from Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. If he continues his lackluster efforts he and the Red Wings could see their 2012 season end far too quickly.