OTTAWA -- Detroit Red Wings winger Johan Franzen was firing on all cylinders at Canadian Tire Centre Thursday night.
After scoring a hat trick to lead the Wings to a 6-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators, Franzen took some verbal postgame shots at Ottawa winger Chris Neil, with whom he had an altercation late in the third period.
"I scored three goals and I had a lot of fun out there," said Franzen, who was asked why Neil was so incensed with him during an incident in which both players received misconducts. "He tried to hit me and he couldn't move me, so I think he got a little upset.
"He usually shows up when the game is over and tries to be the hero. You know, he puts his cape on and goes and flies out there. He doesn't like to take heat from fans and coaches. He usually steps up when the game is over, and shows everyone that he really fights hard."
Neil was gone before reporters could reach him for comment.
The win had significant implications in the Eastern Conference playoff race, as it moved Detroit five points ahead of the Senators, who were just one point out of the final spot heading into the Olympic break.
While the Wings still had plenty of zip after their 2-1 overtime victory in Montreal Wednesday night, the Senators were playing their first game since the layoff. In their last outing before the break, they also lost by five goals, falling 7-2 to the Bruins in Boston.
"Same result, long time in between the two of them," said Senators center Jason Spezza. "I think they're different games. The Boston game, I thought we were outclassed the whole way. Tonight, (the Red Wings) were very opportunistic. Once they were up four, it's tough to play. They fall back and we try to make plays.
"There's no doubt they're both big losses, and games we can't have happen."
Franzen, who missed 27 games this season, had his hat trick by the 3:49 mark of the second period, giving him 12 goals on the season. Also scoring for the Red Wings were center Riley Sheahan, winger Tomas Jurco and center Tomas Tartar.
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall chipped in with three assists.
Senators winger Bobby Ryan was the only member of the home team to solve Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavvson, who made 37 saves on the night.
Senators goalie Robin Lehner was pulled at 5:04 of the second period, after allowing six goals on 15 shots. He was replaced by Andrew Hammond, who had been called up from the Binghamton Senators and made 11 saves in his NHL debut.
Capitalizing on sloppy play by the Senators in their own zone, the Red Wings broke a scoreless tie with three goals in a 2:28 span of the first period. The first two, by Sheahan and Franzen, came 29 seconds apart and were a direct result of Ottawa breakdowns.
Jurco's fourth of the season gave Detroit a 4-0 lead at the 18-minute mark of the first period, a cushion they maintained into the intermission despite being behind 16-12 in shots.
"I didn't think we played very good (in the first) but we were able to capitalize on our chances," said Kronwall. "Monster (Gustavsson's nickname) came up huge for us in net, and we scored pretty much on every chance we had."
Thirty seconds after Franzen chased Lehner, the Senators stirred to life when Ryan's shot from the high slot found its way through a crowd and past Gustavvson for his 22nd of the season. But Tartar replied with his 14th just 45 seconds later to restore the five-goal lead.
"It's more deflating than anything because everybody came back ready to play," said Ryan. "I don't think the issue was that we weren't there mentally. I think the issue was we just had some miscues and a team like them is going to capitalize. We gave them too many opportunities."
The Red Wings are now off until Tuesday, when they visit the New Jersey Devils. The Senators begin a four-game road trip to Western Canada when they take on the Vancouver Canucks in an outdoor game at B.C. Place Sunday.
NOTES: The hat trick scored by Red Wings W Johan Franzen was the third of his career and first since 2011. ... Senators G Craig Anderson missed the game to be in Florida with his wife while she gave birth to their second son. Anderson is expect to rejoin the team Friday. ... Red Wings W Todd Bertuzzi was a healthy scratch, despite the fact he scored the team's lone regulation-time goal the night before in Montreal. Coach Mike Babcock said the 39-year old Bertuzzi was only sitting because it was the second of back-to-back games. "To be honest, I might have taken (Daniel Alfredsson) out too if it wasn't Ottawa," Babcock said of the former Senators captain. ... Playing his first NHL game since suiting up for three in October was Senators W Mike Hoffman. He was the AHL's second leading scorer when he was recalled from Binghamton Monday. Hoffman had three shots on goal in the first period.