Thank you Johan "Mule" Franzen, for scoring the overtime game winner and lifting the Detroit Red Wings to victory Over the Nashville Predators by a score of 2-1 and earning a 3-2 series lead. Scoring goals, and especially game winners, are becoming commonplace for Franzen. The 6'3", 220 lb Swedish centerman scored 27 goals during the regular season, but really seemed to find his touch towards the end of the season, where he just seemed to bang in timely goal after timely goal. He has 8 game winners during the regular season, two of which were against these same Preds.
The name "Franzen" makes me think of the old SNL "Hans and Franz" bit. "I am gonna PUMP (clap) YOU UP!" In Hans and Franz fashion, the Wings ultimately treated Nashville like the "girlie men" that they are, by figuratively picking the Predators up by their flabby love handles and throwing them to the curb like the weakling garbage that they are!
Last night's Franzen dagger was a thing of beauty, as this big hulk shows some touch and can finesse! Barely past a minute into overtime, Valtteri Filppula creates a turnover in the neutral zone to Kronwall, who bounces the puck off the boards to a streaking Mule (The Streaking Mules! Now THAT would be a good name for a rock band). Franzen deeked Ellis and slipped the puck past his outstreached skate. Nice!
Filppula had a big night, scoring the only regultion Wing goal with a nice wrister early in the first period. While Val' Fil' is Finnish not Swedish, he is the best hockey player named "Val" that I have ever seen. Chris Osgood also played solid in the net. "Ozzie!" Babcock, please don't go back to Hasek.
Now I will confess that I watched this goal on the old 9-inch screen CRT in my bedroom. I had been watching the game with my 16-year-old son Joe in the living room on the big widescreen LCD through regulation. However, when Nashville was successful in tying the game with the old "pull the goalie and charge the net" trick at the end of the game, I decided that there was only one thing I could do. Pout. So I jumped out of the recliner, mumbling about having seen this game before.
Detroit outshot Nashville 53-22, completely dominating the entire game as the shot differential would suggest. These weren't long range easy Ellis stops for the most part. These were mostly high end scoring chances. But Nashville had a game plan and they worked it to perfection. While the Wings played keep away all game, skating and passing, shooting and playing hockey, Nashville threw bodies in the path, clogged up the neutral zone, played "hang around - hang around- hang around" and hope for a lucky bounce. And of course it worked. And of course I was ticked off. How many times have the Wings been bounced in early rounds by inferior opponents on the skill-o-meter by just such a travesty? I don't know either, but it's many I tell you!
So I pouted. "Look at my teenage boy on the couch," thought I, as I navigated to my bedroom. "He still thinks The Wings have a chance to win." Of course, my commitment to shun the Wings waned quickly, as I immediately tuned in on the ol' black and white. The rest is history. Franzen scores. Joe charges into my room to administer a "high five" to his father, prone and under his covers. Oh well. Obviously the life lesson I tried to teach him was for naught. On to Nashville for game 6. Hopefully the series closer, cuz I can't take too many more like this!