Franzen scored two goals in the third period to rally the Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Senators on Saturday night.
Franzen tied it at 2 with a goal off a quick transition 11:16 into the third before scoring the winner with 1:17 remaining. His second goal came on a shot from the right side that Gerber partially stopped, only to watch the puck trickle into the net inside the left post.
"If you don't shoot, you don't score," Franzen said. "I saw it all the way and I saw that spin on it. It hit the top of his pad and kept that momentum and it went right by the post. It was a lucky one."
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock enjoyed seeing the late production from Franzen -- nicknamed "Mule" by former Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman. Franzen set a team record with 13 playoff goals last spring after scoring 15 goals in Detroit's final 16 regular season games.
"I didn't think the Mule was quite like he was in exhibition and the first two games, so I was really happy for him that he was able to snap some," Babcock said. "The Mule's gotta understand that the reason he's so good is because he's big and physical, so he's got to be big and physical, and the rest of the stuff will come."
Valtteri Filppula also scored for the Red Wings, who lost 3-2 to Toronto in their home opener Thursday.
"It was a good game for us to find a way to win and it was important that we had to really work hard to do it," Babcock said. "We need to find our work ethic and our passion again. It doesn't carry over from year to year. You've got to find it again and I thought we took a good step here tonight."
Nick Foligno scored an unassisted goal with 1:59 left in the second period to put Ottawa up 2-1.
Alexandre Picard also scored for the Senators, who lost their official home opener after claiming three of a possible four points (1-0-1) in its season-opening two-game series against Pittsburgh last weekend in Stockholm.
Gerber made 38 saves as Ottawa was outshot 41-22 overall, including a 17-6 margin in the first, and 13-4 in the third.
Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom initiated the scoring play that led to the tying goal midway through the third with a pass to Henrik Zetterberg, who tipped the puck ahead. Franzen gathered the pass and drove down the left side, beating Gerber with a wrist shot into the top right corner from the left faceoff circle.
"Some of the things we talked about after game one -- our counterattack wasn't as quick as we wanted it to be, and that's how we scored our last two goals," Lidstrom said. "Franzen got the one coming down the left side, and the second one, too, where we were trying to get puck up quick to the forwards coming with speed."
Foligno, the son of former NHL star Mike Foligno, staked Ottawa to a lead late in the second when he skated to the net and put the puck past Detroit goalie Chris Osgood for his first goal of the season, despite being checked by Niklas Kronwall and Filppula.
"I just tried to make a move and they got me, and then I decided to squeak through them and just made an extra effort, and luckily it went in," Foligno said. "I was happy to put us up, but it was unfortunate that we lost."
Dany Heatley wore the "C" as the Senators' acting captain with Daniel Alfredsson out of the lineup. Heatley drew an assist on Picard's power-play goal 6:22 in.
"It would have been great if we had won, but it's definitely an honor," Heatley said.
Alfredsson, who had two assists in Ottawa's season-opening series last weekend in his native Sweden, had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday to remove a bone chip that became dislodged. He is expected to miss two weeks.
Gerber stuck out his right pad to deny Zetterberg 4 minutes in as Detroit outshot Ottawa 7-1 in the early going.
The Senators broke through on a 5-on-3 after Red Wings defenseman Andreas Lilja was sent off for high sticking at 5:38 with Daniel Cleary already in the penalty box.
Picard drove a slap shot past Osgood from the right point at 6:22 on a return pass from Kuba on Ottawa's third shot -- second of the 5-on-3.
Filppula tied it with his first goal at 11:01. The Finnish forward took Mikael Samuelsson's crossing pass on a 3-on-2 and beat Gerber from the left side of the slot with a shot inside the right post.
D Kyle Quincey and D Derek Meech did not dress for Detroit. ... Veteran Ottawa D Luke Richardson was a healthy scratch for a third straight game. ... The Senators won just three of 14 games -- including two playoff losses -- with Alfredsson out of the lineup last season. ... The crowd of 20,182 was the Senators' 37th consecutive sellout.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Canadian Tire Centre Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Referees: Chris Rooney, Kelly Sutherland Linesmen: Steve Barton, Pierre Champoux
Attendance: 20,182 (109.1% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Alexandre Picard (1)
(Power Play) Assists: Filip Kuba, Dany Heatley
Valtteri Filppula (1)
Assists: Mikael Samuelsson, Daniel Cleary
Nick Foligno (1)
Johan Franzen (1)
Assists: Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom
Johan Franzen (2)
Assists: Brian Rafalski, Henrik Zetterberg