DETROIT – Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom got tired of watching Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula and Todd Bertuzzi have all the fun.
Franzen had two goals and two assists for his first career four-point game in the Detroit Red Wings’ 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night. Datsyuk and Holmstrom also had a goal and an assist as the line dominated the game.
Franzen’s first goal broke a string of nine straight Detroit goals scored by the Zetterberg-Filppula-Bertuzzi unit. That line scored all of Detroit’s goals in the past two games and the final two in the previous contest.
“It was bouncing my way tonight, our way. It happens,” Franzen said.
Jonathan Ericsson had a goal and an assist, and Drew Miller also scored for Detroit, which tied a season high with its fourth straight win.
The Red Wings are tied with Colorado with 89 points for the last two playoff spot in the Western Conference, six points ahead of ninth-place Calgary.
“Guys have been playing well,” goalie Jimmy Howard said after making 25 saves on his 26th birthday. “We’ve had it going pretty good since the Olympic break (10-2-1).”
Andrew Brunette and Owen Nolan scored for Minnesota, and Josh Harding made 28 saves before leaving after two periods because of a nagging hip injury. Niklas Backstrom replaced him and stopped eight shots.
“There were a lot of teams close to them for a while, but they’ve definitely stepped up their game to make sure they’ll make it into the playoffs,” Minnesota’s Greg Zanon said.
Franzen opened the scoring 1:19 into the second period. He cut in off the left wing, faked a shot from the circle – which Harding bit on – and put the puck into the empty net after taking a couple of more strides.
Holmstrom’s power-play goal made it 2-0, 4:22 into the middle period. He tipped Nicklas Lidstrom’s shot from the point in out of the air. It was Holmstrom’s 21st goal.
“Sometimes it doesn’t go in but we’ve been getting some bounces,” Holmstrom said. “It’s good that we get scoring from all of the guys. It was our night tonight.”
Ericsson’s short-handed goal, at 10:03, also came off a tip of Lidstrom’s slapshot. It was Ericsson’s fourth goal.
Datsyuk was credited with his 24th goal just 1:20 later when his pass out of the corner bounced in off Zanon’s skate in the crease.
“We unravelled in the second period,” Wild coach Todd Richards said.
Brunette’s power-play goal with 3:53 left in the second put Minnesota on the board. He poked in a loose puck from the crease while being pulled down. It was Brunette’s 23rd goal.
Nolan got his 15th goal, 2:09 into the third period, when his bouncing, harmless-looking shot from the top of the right circle along the boards skipped over Howard’s pad and between his arm and body.
“I would’ve liked to have had that second goal back,” Howard said. “Should have played it like a shortstop and attacked it instead of sitting back.”
Franzen’s second goal, and ninth of the season, came on the power play 5:29 into the third when a bouncing puck went in off his leg.
Miller added his ninth goal, 7:26 into the third period.
NOTES: After the morning skate, Kris Draper, as he does on each of his teammates’ birthdays during the season, got Howard in the face with a shaving cream pie. … Minnesota centre and captain Mikko Koivu missed his second game with an injured arm … Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves returned after missing three games with a head/neck injury. … Detroit forward Dan Cleary left the game during the first period with an aggravated groin. Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock said Cleary would not play Saturday night in Minnesota in the second game of the home-and-home contests … Wild forward Chuck Kobasew left the game after the second period with a knee injury. Richards said he didn’t now how bad it was. … Minnesota’s James Sheppard’s assist on Nolan’s goal was his first point in 31 games.