OTTAWA – Johan Franzen doesn’t get to play in Ottawa often but there’s something about Scotiabank Place that seems to agree with him.
Franzen was a one-man show Wednesday night, scoring five goals to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 7-5 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
“I’ve only been in here twice I think, but I scored two goals the last time I was here,”said Franzen.“I like this building.”
Franzen is the first player to score five goals in a game since Minnesota’s Marian Gaborik did so Dec. 20, 2007. Franzen is the first player ever score five times against the Senators.
Kris Draper and Niklas Kronwall also scored for Detroit (31-13-6) while Jimmy Howard made 29 saves.
Milan Michalek scored twice for Ottawa (17-27-8) while Peter Regin had a goal and two assists. Chris Campoli and Alex Kovalev had the others.
Robin Lehner was pulled midway through the second period after allowing four goals on 19 shots in his first start at home. Brian Elliott allowed two goals on 19 shots in relief.
The Senators have lost eight straight games, and 14 of 15. Ottawa hasn’t won at home since Dec. 26 against Pittsburgh.
Ottawa’s 0-6-2 home losing streak is their longest such run since going 0-7-1 from Jan. 31–March 2, 1996.
Usually five goals would be enough to win a game but such isn’t the case for a team like Ottawa that’s struggling.
“It really is tough,”said Campoli.“For the most part we’ve struggled to score goals this year and when you get five more often than not you’re going to win the game, but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.”
The visit to Ottawa was Detroit’s first since October 2008.
The Senators opened the scoring with a power-play goal by Kovalev, but consecutive goals by Franzen just 48 seconds apart gave Detroit a 2-1 lead.
Ottawa responded as Regin and Campoli each scored their second of the season to put the Senators ahead 3-2.
“It’s really frustrating,”said Regin.“It’s been a tough stretch for me so it was good to finally get on the board, but at the same time we didn’t win so it doesn’t mean that much.”
After a slow start to the second the Red Wings scored twice in a span of 13 seconds to regain the lead.
Lehner made two great saves but couldn’t stop Draper on the third attempt. On the ensuing play, the Red Wings took control and continued to pressure Ottawa deep in its own end before Nicklas Lidstrom found Kronwall at the blue-line.
Kronwall drilled a shot through traffic that beat Lehner through his legs. That marked the end of Lehner’s night, and fans didn’t appreciate the goaltending change as Elliott was booed by the 18,011 on hand. Elliott had lost his last 11 starts.
Lehner understood being pulled but felt bad he couldn’t get his teammates the win.
“Those things are going to happen,”said Lehner.“Our guys have been waiting for a game like this where our guys step up and score like they did today and it’s a big disappointment for me to not be the guy to make sure they get that win.”
Elliott looked awful as Franzen completed the hat trick with a power-play goal just 30 seconds into the third for his first regular-season three-goal performance.
“Guys were setting me up all night,”said Franzen.“Hank (Zetterberg) and Bert (Bertuzzi) didn’t want to shoot it themselves, they were just trying to set me up.”
The Senators tied the game 5-5 just 29 seconds later as Michalek scored his second of the night.
Consecutive minor penalties gave the Red Wings a two-man advantage for 68 seconds. Detroit made the most of it as Franzen scored his fourth of the game for a 6-5 lead.
The Senators appeared to tie the game with just under eight minutes remaining. But the goal was disallowed on the ice and the call was upheld upon further review.
Franzen capped the scoring with an empty-net goal.
Notes: Ottawa D Matt Carkner was a healthy scratch. LW Jarkko Ruutu was back in the lineup after missing the last three games. The Senators were without G Pascal Leclaire (lower body, day-to-day), C Jason Spezza (shoulder, indefinite)…Detroit was without C Pavel Datsyuk (hand, day-to-day), C Mike Modano (wrist, early March), LW Thomas Holmstrom (hand, mid-February), G Chris Osgood (groin, mid-February), D Brad Stuart (jaw, late February). Bertuzzi celebrated his 36th birthday Wednesday.