Johan Franzen had a big night on Thursday as his hat trick performance led Detroit to a 6-1 victory, but with the game already decided, Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil tried to get something going.
Neil seemed intent on picking a fight with Franzen and even removed the Red Wings forward’s helmet. The officials quickly got involved, preventing the incident from potentially escalating further between Neil and a player that returned from a concussion on Wednesday.
You can see what happened here:
Both players ended up receiving misconducts and Neil got roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties thrown on top of that. Afterwards, Franzen was very open about his feelings regarding Neil.
“He usually shows up when the game is over and tries to be the hero,” Franzen said, per the Ottawa Citizen. “Puts his cape on and goes and flies out there.
“He doesn’t like to take heat from fans and coaches, he usually steps up when the game is over and shows he really fights hard.”
Senators coach Paul MacLean shrugged off the incident as just part of the game.
This was a tough loss for the Senators as they missed a critical opportunity to gain ground on Detroit in the race for a playoff spot. Ottawa is now five points shy of the Red Wings and the second Wild Card spot they possess.
Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond’s dream is coming true tonight as he made his NHL debut, but he probably didn’t think it would happen like this.
The 26-year-old netminder with 33 games worth of AHL experience entered the contest as Robin Lehner’s understudy because Craig Anderson is with his family for the birth of his child. Under normal circumstances, Nathan Lawson might have gotten the call over Hammond, but as TSN’s Steve Lloyd noted, Lawson had just returned from an injury.
Warming the bench was expected to be the highlight of Hammond’s stint with the team, but Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen had other plans.
Franzen beat Lehner three times tonight and the Senators goaltender allowed six goals on just 15 shots before he was mercifully pulled 25:04 minutes into the contest.
This was Franzen’s first hat trick since Nov. 8, 2011. It also continues his trend of dominating the Senators. He now has 12 goals in roughly eight and a half games against Ottawa, including his stunning five-goal night on Feb. 2, 2011.
Johan Franzen couldn’t play for Sweden in the 2014 Winter Games because of a concussion that’s plagued him since mid-December, but he was able to join the rest of the Red Wings’ non-Olympians last week.
He had already been feeling good for weeks before Detroit resumed its practices, but cautioned on Dec. 19 that his symptoms tend to manifest when he subjects himself to game-like situations. However, after as we draw closer to the Red Wings’ first game back on Wednesday, it looks increasingly likely that Franzen will be in the lineup.
“It’s been pretty good,” Franzen told the Detroit News. “I am optimistic (about returning Wednesday).”
Detroit could certainly use all the help they can get after Henrik Zetterberg underwent back surgery.
They might also get back defenseman Jakub Kindl and forward Stephen Weiss in the near future.