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Red Wings Go For Fourth Win This Season Over Blue Jackets

(Sports Network) - Johan Franzen turned in a rare display of goal-scoring prowess in Detroit's first game following the All-Star break and he will try to stay hot tonight, when the Red Wings host the Columbus Blue Jackets at Joe Louis Arena.

Franzen had never recorded a hat trick at the NHL level until Wednesday in Ottawa when the forward exploded for five goals in a 7-5 victory over the Senators. The Swedish veteran scored twice in the first period and three more times in the third to boost his club-leading goal total to 26.

It was the first five-goal effort from a Red Wings player since Sergei Fedorov tallied all five during a 5-4 overtime win against Washington on December 26, 1996. Also, it was the first five-goal game in the NHL since December 20, 2007 when Marian Gaborik scored five in a game for Minnesota.

"It seemed like everyone was setting me up the whole game," said Franzen. "What can I say, it was just one of those nights where everything went my way. Good way to come back from the break."

Niklas Kronwall and Kris Draper also scored goals on Wednesday for the Central Division-leading Red Wings, who won for the third time in their past four games. Jimmy Howard stopped 29 shots to earn the win for Detroit.

On the injury front, the Red Wings welcomed Danny Cleary back to the ice in the win over the Senators, as the forward played for the first time since suffering a broken left ankle on Dec. 26. Detroit could get Pavel Datsyuk back tonight, as the forward gets close to returning from a broken wrist suffered on Dec. 22.

The Red Wings have won three of their four games this season against tonight's Central Division opponent. Detroit has taken nine of 11 from the Blue Jackets overall and Columbus has dropped five in a row and nine out of 10 in the Motor City.

Detroit is 15-6-4 as the host this season, while Columbus is 11-10-4 as the guest.

The Blue Jackets were dealt a 7-4 loss in their first game following the break, dropping a home test to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. It was the second straight setback for Columbus, which has just three wins in its last 12 games (3-7-2).

Derek Dorsett notched a goal and a helper for the Blue Jackets. Steve Mason stopped just 17-of-22 shots and was pulled after the second period. Mathieu Garon played the third and stopped 3-of-4 shots.

Blue Jackets defenseman Rostislav Klesla missed his second straight game Tuesday with a lower-body injury and is questionable for tonight.

Columbus is tied with St. Louis for last place in the Central Division. With 51 points, the Blue Jackets are 17 behind Detroit in the division and eight points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.