Johan Franzen could easily get a second career with Molly Maid after cleaning house last night. His hat trick in Detroit’s 8-2 white wash swept the Avs out of the 2008 playoffs; it also cleared the dust from Gordie Howe’s now former record of 8 goals in a playoff series. Franzen’s 9 goals in the series equalled Colorado’s combined scoring total.
This is the second time in the 2007-2008 season the 28 year old Swede has shattered one of Mr. Hockey’s records. Franzen notched his sixth game winning goal of the season in March, topping Howe’s benchmark set in 1952. He is also the first player since Jari Kurri in 1985 to get two hat tricks in a series.
When asked how he felt about surpassing another Howe achievement, Franzen quipped “I didn’t follow the game back then.” Detroit’s head coach, Mike Babcock added “If you’re going to break records, you might as well break Gordie Howe’s”
Somewhat lost in the hoopla surrounding Franzen’s achievements were the performances of fellow Swedes Henrik Zetterberg and Mikael Samuelsson. They both netted two goals. Tomas Holmstrom’s single score rounded out the scoring – all the Wings goals came from Swedish players.
This series marked a departure from the heated and close battles between the Avs and Red Wings in the 90s. Zetterberg didn’t feel bad about it: “I won’t apologize for beating them like this,” “I know they’ll came back at us next year.”
Joe Sakic, the Avs fabled Burnaby Joe may not return. The 38 year old, 20 year NHL veteran is contemplating retirement if his health doesn’t hold up. He missed 38 games this season and played this series with tears in both groins. Sakic is tied with Leaf fan favourite Doug Gilmour for seventh place in all time NHL playoff points with 188.
Colorado was hit hard with injuries. Ryan Smith, Paul Stastny, Marek Svatos all missed games.