Friday May 7th, 2010

1. Johan Franzen, Red Wings. It's not as though Franzen had been a non-factor in this postseason -- he carried a 10-game scoring streak into Game 4--but the goals weren't coming. And considering his rep for postseason prestidigitation, there was some concern that perhaps his magic around the net had run out. Turns out it was just backed up. Franzen struck four times, tallying a natural hat trick in a 3:26 span of the first, to lead the Wings to victory in a must-win Game 4. Franzen also added two assists to give him six points on the night, breaking the franchise record previously held by Norm Ullman and Steve Yzerman.

2. Todd Bertuzzi, Red Wings. Their playoff lives on the line, the Red Wings needed a quick start ... and Big Bert provided the jump. With Detroit on the power play, Bertuzzi planted himself in Evgeni Nabokov's kitchen. That was the ideal position to deflect Franzen's wrister off his shin guard and into the net, giving Detroit the lead, and taking away a mountain of pressure, less than six minutes in. The rest of the night was spent swapping paint with Nabokov and Thomas Greiss, or setting up three of Franzen's goals with the kind of slick passing that's been all too rare since he left the Canucks back in 2006. Bertuzzi ended up with five points on the night, a new career best.

3. Jaroslav Halak, Canadiens. Not to take anything away from the rest of the Habs, but Halak is the one who'll decide how long Cinderella gets to stay at the ball. The netminder was wrapped in another magical spell tonight, stopping 33 Pittsburgh shots on the way to a 3-2 Montreal win. Halak saved some of his finest stops for late in the game, robbing Sidney Crosby on a power-play chance and Evgeni Malkin on a breakaway as the Habs clung desperately to a one-goal lead, but he was at his best during the first two stanzas. With the Canadiens struggling to keep pace with the defending champs, and getting outshot 26-9 in the process, Halak's steady presence was all that stood between them and humiliation.

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