Originally written on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/29/14

DALLAS - JANUARY 05: Right wing Johan Franzen #93 of the Detroit Red Wings pushes for the puck with Krys Barch #13 of the Dallas Stars in the first period at the American Airlines Center on January 5, 2008 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings are well aware of what Johan Franzen can mean to them when he's healthy. Franzen, 6-3, 223 pounds, can be a difference-maker, especially in the playoffs, but the Wings need Franzen now more than ever if they want to reach the playoffs for the 22nd straight season. In 2008, Franzen had 13 goals and five assists in 16 playoff games. In 2009, he had 12 goals and 11 assists in 23 playoff games. In 2010, he had six goals and 12 assists in 12 playoff games. Injuries have plagued the big Swede in recent years, including this season. Franzen, 33, came into Tuesday night's game against the Avalanche without a point in the last three games since returning from missing seven games with a hip injury. Before the injury, he had also gone three games without a point. But Franzen looked healthy and active in the Red Wings 2-1 win over the Avalanche, as he attacked Colorado goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere with a team-high six shots. Giguere preserved a scoreless game late in the first when Franzen bore in on him. "I got a good pass from Hank (Zetterberg) and I just missed it, kind of half an open net," Franzen said. "Too bad I missed it. But I'm usually lucky against Colorado. Try to stay with that." Franzen did stay with it and at 7:00 of the second, he got another nice pass from Damien Brunner, this time for a breakaway and this time he did not miss. "That was a good pass by him," Franzen said. "I think there was a (defenseman) in between and he got it over his stick and I got the breakaway." Asked what he was thinking about on the breakaway, Franzen said, "I only have one move and that's it. That's the only thing I got." Franzen has 13 goals and five assists in 25 games against Colorado one his favorite opponents. With the goal Tuesday, Franzen has four goals and six assists in 16 games this season, good enough for fifth on the team despite the missed time. Niklas Kronwall scored the eventual game-winner later in the but he was more impressed with goaltender Jimmy Howard, who had 36 saves, and the play of his fellow Swede. "He was great all over the ice," Kronwall said of Franzen. "I really thought he competed tonight and made it hard on their D-men. He was everywhere I thought on the forecheck, the backcheck. He played great for us." Wings coach Mike Babcock was equally impressed. "I thought he was outstanding," Babcock said. "Last game he got better as the game went on. (Tuesday) he was ready to go from the start. We need him to be. He can be a force for us. I thought he was really heavy on the forecheck, he got pucks back. I thought he was excellent." The Wings are still missing Darren Helm (back), Valtteri Filppula (shoulder), Mikael Samuelsson (broken finger) and Todd Bertuzzi (back). Bertuzzi and Samuelsson are two of their bigger forwards, so that makes Franzen's contributions even more important while they're out. Franzen also tends to be a streaky scorer, so if he gets hot, he has the ability to carry a team for a while. In a lockout-shortened season with so little separating teams, that could mean the difference between making the playoffs or not. The Wings went from fourth place in the Western Conference Sunday to 10th entering Tuesday's game. The two points they got Tuesday pushed them back into fourth place. "(Colorado) has played two less games and we're only up six points on them," Zetterberg said. "But these are important. A win takes us up in a playoff spot and a loss takes us out of a playoff spot. Thats how its going to be. You have to play every game, every nightand if you do that and win games youll get rewarded in the end." If the Wings are able to keep Franzen going, there's far greater chance of them getting rewarded.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

FSU’s Egan reported Williams girlfriend's Facebook to cops

Cowboys VP: Tony Romo “very questionable” for Week 9

Report: Warriors sign Klay Thompson to $70M extension

Cubs oust manager Renteria, setting stage for Maddon

Officially official: Michigan AD Dave Brandon has resigned

RG3 won't 'try to be a normal quarterback' on Sunday

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dez Bryant, Joseph Randle reportedly argue before practice

DeAngelo Hall re-tore Achilles tendon while making pizza

Madison Bumgarner was once roommates with Russell Wilson

Wild's Vanek linked to alleged money laundering scheme

Jets fans start 'Fire John Idzik' website

Report: McDonald unlikely to be charged with domestic violence

Carlos Boozer shows up to arena in Halloween costume

Auburn at Ole Miss: Five things you need to know

WATCH: Goran Dragic punks Suns teammates with baby dino

WATCH: Johnny Manziel cusses out referees at Cavs opener

Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons are 'Run DMC'

Analysis: Alex Gordon wouldn't have scored on Game 7 error

Game of the week: Broncos vs. Patriots

November games that will shape the College Football Playoff

WATCH: Flyers equip. manager pulls prank with fake snake

Simi Valley team recreates Sandlot photo for Halloween

Ranking the Top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL

WATCH: Vanilla Ice rocked the halftime show at T'Wolves game

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Game of the week: Broncos vs. Patriots

Baseball team recreates Sandlot pic

Top 10 QBs in the NFL

McDonald unlikely to face D.V. charge

Welker feels like 'weak link' in offense

Cavs intro for LeBron was wild

Greg Hardy won't play this season

Michael Jordan rips Obama's golf game

Torii Hunter in radio ad opposing gay marriage

Curt Schilling praises Bumgarner

GALLERY: Best of sports pumpkins

Top storyline for each Week 9 game

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.