Nov 15, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings left wing Johan Franzen (left) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring in the first period against the Washington Capitals at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Johan Franzen and Tomas Tatar Must Be Kept Together

Fans have been screaming all season for either Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar to break into the lineup and play a consistent amount of games. Especially after the whole Dan Cleary signing debacle when Ken Holland assured Tatar that he would be one of the forwards on the team…only to see him be a healthy scratch for the majority of the season so far.

Tatar played in both Friday and Saturday’s games, on a line with Johan Franzen and Darren Helm.

And that apparently did the trick.

Franzen seemed to work out of the funk he’s been in, netting three goals and one assist in the last two games. He had his seventeenth career multi-goal game, which is what we know him for (that and scoring more goals than the Colorado Avalanche in a playoff series and also lots of game-winning goals).

At one point in the game against the Washington Capitals, he was evening pulling a Tomas Holmstrom and standing directly in front of Braden Holtby as the Red Wings cycled the puck and got ready to take some chances.

The Mule looked back in form in those two games, and it was a glorious thing to behold. He had looked ticked off in the previous game against the Winnipeg Jets, and when the Mule gets angry, that’s a good thing. It was only a matter of time before he started scoring goals again.

On the Tatar side of the equation, just seeing him grace this roster with his presence was a relief. He had an assist in both games–both on goals from Franzen. This is a player that’s needed to be in the lineup much sooner than right now, but it’s one of those situations where, again, for like the sixth season in a row (or third, whatever), this team has too many forwards mixed with too many injuries and the called-up players seem to be chosen at random.

Heck, even Helm’s presence on this line helped. His speediness, especially over time, may rub off on Franzen and get him out of skating lazily around the ice. Plus, he had a goal and two assists in the two games.

This line just works. But as most fans will say upon reading this article, Ten bucks says Babcock sits Tatar when Stephen Weiss/Daniel Alfredsson comes back. Maybe not. Maybe the coaching staff will realize that for the first time pretty much this whole season, we have secondary scoring going on. Someone other than Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk is getting the puck into the back of the net.

How long will this last, you ask? Knowing Franzen’s streaky tendencies, maybe another half dozen games before he disappears again; but in that time, he will rack up a bunch of goals and assists and make us feel a little less murderous. If it helps us turn around the home-stand losing streak, it will be worth it.

There’s no way this is the end of all the Franzen bashing and hating, but you can at least admit that it’s nice to see him scoring goals like he’s supposed to.

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