The Detroit Red Wings received some good news as they ready to face the bumbling Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
The good news: Johan Franzen is set to return, according to the Detroit News.
Almost as good news: Sliding “The Mule” in the lineup won’t kick out any part of a top Red Wings line that has been pretty hot lately.
Rather than dislodging one of Justin Abdelkader, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg from a trio that’s been very productive lately, Franzen will be part of a second line that includes Gustav Nyquist and Darren Helm, the Detroit News reports.
Then again, “The Mule” hopes he doesn’t mess that up, either.
“They have tons of speed, so they can help me with that,” Franzen joked to the Detroit News. “I just hope Nyquist stays hot. I hope I’m not going to cool him off.”
Franzen, 34, scored two goals in the Oct. 17 contest in which he got injured, so he’s coming off a two-goal game much like Nyquist.
As much as top players have come through for Detroit, Franzen’s struggled with injuries and up-and-down play lately. The Red Wings could be that much more dangerous if he can stay healthy and approach his prime form.
The Leafs and Red Wings have lineup changes as the two teams prepare for the second of a back-to-back, home-and-home set in Detroit tonight.
Out for the visiting Leafs is forward Brandon Kozun. The winger, who surprised many by cracking Toronto’s opening night roster, is out with a left high ankle sprain suffered during the second period of Friday night’s loss.
Kozun, who did not travel to Detroit, underwent an MRI on Saturday in Toronto.
In his place on the fourth line will be Matt Frattin playing alongside Richard Panik and Peter Holland. Frattin is playing in just his second game of the season and first since the season opener against Montreal.
On the blue line, veteran Stephane Robidas slots back in for rookie Stuart Percy.
For the Red Wings, Johan Franzen, who left last night’s win with a leg cramp, is out – Stephen Weiss makes his regular season debut in his place.
Detroit Red Wings veteran forward Johan Franzen left Friday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a lower-body injury and will not return, the club announced via Twitter.
Franzen, 34, scored twice earlier in the game, his first two goals of the season as the Red Wings jumped out to a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes.
Ansar Khan of MLive.com reported that Franzen left for the Red Wings dressing room with about four minutes remaining in the second period.
Updated: According to MLive.com, Franzen left the game with leg spasms, but said it’s not serious.
Henrik Zetterberg is having himself a night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The skilled Swedish left winger had racked up a trio of assists for the Detroit Red Wings through two periods, as his team jumped out to a 3-0 lead against the Maple Leafs heading into the intermission.
Perhaps none of those set-ups was sweeter than the nifty little backhand pass he made to Johan Franzen, who buried his shot by James Reimer. Not necessarily the best defending from the Maple Leafs on the play.
Oh yeah, and Gustav Nyquist scored for Detroit, as well. That gives him four goals in four games to begin the season. Pretty nice start for the 25-year-old forward.
“He (Nyquist) has scored everywhere he’s been, but he has scored points, not goals,” Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said, as per the Toronto Star.
“He has a good shot and elite hockey sense, and obviously he’s got confidence. There are a lot of players who come into the league and it takes a long time for them to get confidence. He arrived a little bit older and a little bit more established, and got his confidence quicker.”
After picking up where he left off last year in the goalscoring department, Gustav Nyquist is getting a promotion for Wednesday night’s rivalry game against Boston.
Nyquist, who has two goals in two games this season, will play alongside Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen on the Red Wings’ No. 1 line, according to the Detroit Free Press. Justin Abdelkader, who’d previously played the wing on that unit, will drop down to play with Darren Helm and Andrej Nestrasil.
The 25-year-old Swede led the Wings in goals last year, with 28, seven of which came courtesy Zetterberg assists. The new-look trio also connected in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Anaheim, with Nyquist scoring early in the third period on helpers from Zetterberg and Franzen.
“(Nyquist) is one of the players who can play on all four lines,” Zetterberg said, per the Macomb Daily. “He’s a smart player, got a lot of skill. The goal he scored against Anaheim, not a lot of players in the league can do that.”