Tatar Produces, Gustavsson Stands Tall

The Detroit Red Wings put together a good outing against the New Jersey Devils on Friday. Jonas Gustavsson has a 8-0-1 record and is the Red Wings’ back bone of winning games this season.Regularly, the Wings’ starting goaltender, Jimmy Howard, is holding down the fort. But Howard has not been living up to coach Mike Babcock’s motto of “production gets you ice time.”

Joakim Andersson was cleaning up Drew Miller’s trash late in the second period when he netted one past Cory Schneider to tie the game 1-1.

“That was a huge goal, no question,” Babcock said. “It was a great play by [Daniel] Alfredsson at the blue line. We had given up seven or eight shots at that point, so it wasn’t like they had momentum but we didn’t have it either. It was a game that was offensively challenged by both teams.”

A big red machine currently fueling the Wings’ fire is Johan Franzen. Franzen He has 20 points on the season with a +6 rating, and has recently moved up to the top line alongside Todd Bertuzzi and the young show stopper, Gustav Nyquist.

“I think that the Mule [Franzen] can lead with his play, but he’s doing more than that,” Babcock said. “He’s staying determined, he’s patient and positive and he’s helping us have success. He, Alfie and [Niklas] Kronwall are doing a good job for us. Without the people we have, there’s a leadership void and there’s opportunities for others.”

Alfredsson added another notch to his assist column, which currently sits at 16, to contribute to an overall 23 points. Leadership is good to have in a player, especially one that has been a captain in the NHL in his ‘past life’.

“It’s important to stick with it,” Alfredsson said. “We feel we have a good foundation to fall back on when you don’t have the offensive threats in the lineup as you have normally. We trust in the system and we’re well prepared before the game. We bounced back well losing against Philadelphia on Wednesday. For our confidence, this was a very important win.”

There are two players that the Red Wings have been shocked by this season. First, Tomas Tatar who has six goals and seven assists and a +3 rating, has come out hot this season trying to prove his worth to the Wings’ coaching staff. Next, Jonas Gustavsson, the back-up goaltender, has grown majorly over the course of a year. He has created a new speed, a new finesse and a new presence in the pipes.

“I thought [Gustavsson] made a few great saves,” Franzen said. “When I looked up and there was only one minute left, they had nine shots, but that wasn’t how it felt. He made some key saves and he’s been playing great for us.”

As long as Gustavsson and Franzen stay playing up to par, with a little bit of speed and creativity from their youngsters, the Detroit Red Wings will be able to overcome their injury problems.

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Information from the Detroit Red Wings was used in this report.

For more information on the Detroit Red Wings and NHL hockey from analysts and journalists at Michigan State University – tune into Octopi Hockeytown podcasts and embrace the Spartan debate at


Austin Goodman is the host of Octopi Hockeytown for Impact Sports


Scoring Summary:

1st Period:

NJD – 13:43 PPG – A. Greene (Tip-in) (P. Elias)

2nd Period:

DET – 19:24 – J. Andersson (Tip-in) (D. Miller, J. Alfredsson)

3rd Period:

DET – 12:40 – J. Franzen (Wrist) (G. Nyquist, T. Tatar)

DET – 18:57 PPG – T. Tatar (Snap) Unassisted.


Three Stars:

First: Johan Franzen

(1G, +1, 1 shot, 1 hit, 2PIM, 19:47 TOI)

Second: Andy Greene

(1G, -2, 1 shot, 24:45 TOI)

Third: Joakim Andersson

(1G, +1, 1 shot, 16:53 TOI)