- Associated Press - Friday, February 28, 2014

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) - Johan Franzen has no explanation for his success in Ottawa, a place he certainly enjoys playing in.

The Detroit Red Wings forward was at his best once again, scoring three goals in a 6-1 win over the Senators on Thursday night. Franzen, who returned to the Red Wings‘ lineup Wednesday after playing just one of the past 24 games due to a concussion, had five goals against the Senators in February 2011.

“I like playing here,” Franzen said. “We have Erik Karlsson on the other side and we grew up in the same little town, so it’s always fun to play him. It’s something special every time. I’m just happy to keep him from the scoreboard. It’s always fun to play him.”

Detroit coach Mike Babcock is pleased to see Franzen having success - no matter where it is.

“He’s an important player for us,” Babcock said. “He has the ability, he has the touch. Lots of guys play real hard and can’t score. He can score.”

It appears Franzen also has the ability to get under his opponent’s skin. Ottawa’s Chris Neil went after Franzen late in the game and while nothing came of it Franzen was less than impressed.

“He tried to hit me and he couldn’t move me, so I think he got a little upset,” Franzen said. “I have no clue. He usually shows up when the game is over and tries to be the hero. He puts his cape on and goes and flies out there. I don’t know.”

Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar also scored for Detroit. Jonas Gustavsson stopped 37 shots.

With the win, the Red Wings (28-20-12) have a five-point lead over the Senators (26-23-11) for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

“Coming back from the break and you start 2-0, it’s way better than the opposite way,” Babcock said. “We know we’re in a battle for our playoff life. We understand that, so getting off to a good start is imperative.”

The Senators had little explanation for their performance.

“It’s an extremely disappointing loss,” Ottawa captain Jason Spezza said. “We knew that it was a very important game for us and to lose it by that score is obviously not what we were looking for.”

Bobby Ryan scored the lone goal for the Senators, who were playing their first game since the Olympic break. Robin Lehner allowed six goals on 15 shots before Andrew Hammond made his NHL debut, stopping all nine shots he faced.

Things fell apart for the Senators in a nine-minute in the first period.

Ryan had a goal overturned after it was ruled that he kicked it in, and then the Senators’ leading goal scorer missed two great chances on the power play. The Red Wings later scored on consecutive shots.

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