Welcome to another season of MiHockey’s Michi-gamer, now powered by Bauer Hockey.
We take great pride in our homegrown talent. Whether they grew up in the Mitten or we welcomed them here for college or juniors, they are our own. They represent the best place in the world for hockey.
Every night, we’ll keep an eye on those players, and every morning, we will pick one Michi-gamer of the night – one Michigan player who stood out above the rest.
Look, we considered former Western Michigan Bronco Mark Letestu for today’s selection, since he scored the game-winner for the Blue Jackets yesterday. However, he’s not getting the nod, because he scored the game-winner for the Blue Jackets yesterday (and in the process putting the Wings’ playoff hopes in a little bit of jeopardy). So, we’re going with everybody’s favorite Muskegon native turned Spartan turned Red Wing, because let’s face it, Justin Abdelkader is one of the poster boys for hockey in our state. Oh yeah, he scored a big goal yesterday, too – it’s not like we’re just giving it to him because he plays in Hockeytown. Abdelkader’s third-period goal sealed the deal for the Wings, locking up another crucial win for Detroit as they fight to keep their historic playoff streak intact. Playing with superstars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, Abdelkader buried a rebound on a three-on-two rush, increasing the Wings’ lead to three and putting any thoughts of a Nashville comeback to bed. Abdelkader has set a personal-best for goals in a season with 10, despite playing in only 47 games because of the lockout.
More MiHockey articles on Abdelkader:
A.J. Jenks keeps on scoring for the Florida Everblades. The Wolverine Lake native scored on a rebound yesterday to give the ‘Blades a 3-1 lead over the Reading Royals yesterday, which would help them to a 4-1 win in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal match-up. The Everblades now hold a 2-1 series lead. For Jenks, a Plymouth Whalers alum, the goal marked his sixth of the postseason, in just nine games. Throw in two assists, and Jenks is producing at almost a point-per-game pace when it matters most. Jenks is fourth in the ECHL in playoff goal-scoring, and if he keeps it up, he and the Everblades could be grabbing some hardware in the upcoming weeks.
More MiHockey articles on Jenks:
In just his sixth NHL game, Ann Arbor native Austin Watson potted his first career NHL goal in a 4-3 win over Calgary at home. Watson’s tally, a quick, low wrist shot, put the Preds up 3-2 early in the third period on a short, nifty feed from Craig Smith. Making it that much more memorable for Watson was that the goal came against Miikka Kiprusoff, long considered one of the top goaltenders in the NHL. The 21-year-old Watson was drafted 18th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by Nashville and is seeing time late in the season with the Preds after playing 72 games with Milwaukee in the AHL. There, he recorded a 20-17-37 offensive line in his first professional campaign. Previously, Watson skated in the Michigan AAA ranks for Compuware in the metro-Detroit area before heading to the OHL, where he split four seasons between Windsor, Peterborough and London.
More MiHockey articles on Watson:
We’re bending the rules a bit, but let’s face it, Jimmy Howard’s become one of our own over the years, right? The U.S. National Team Development Program alum has now played nine years of hockey for Michigan-based teams, and with that new deal he just signed, he’s not going anywhere. Last night, the Red Wings’ goaltender stood on his head, turning aside all 34 shots he faced to lead the Red Wings to a 4-0 win over Phoenix. It was Howard’s fourth shutout of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Red Wings, as they desperately battle to keep their historic playoff streak alive. Howard’s record on the season now stands at 18-13-7, with a .921 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against average. He could very well be the reason the Red Wings make (or don’t make) the 2013 NHL Playoffs next week.
More MiHockey articles on Howard:
The Albany Devils wrapped up their season this weekend, and David Wohlberg made sure to make a strong final impression. The South Lyon native scored the game-winning goal late in the third period Saturday night, breaking a scoreless tie at the 17:27 mark of the final frame. Wohlberg made a diving play to register his fourth goal of the season, and lead the AHL affiliate of New Jersey to a 2-0 win (they added an empty-netter). That wraps up the NTDP product’s first pro season, a year that saw him record four goals and five assists over 36 AHL contests. Wohlberg finished with a +1 rating, along with 51 shots on goal, and 26 penalty minutes. The four-year member of the Wolverines recorded 111 points in 162 games with the Wolverines. He was named the CCHA Rookie of the Year in 2009.
More MiHockey articles on Wohlberg:
To see last week’s Michi-gamer nominations, click here.
This week’s Michi-gamer list assembled by MiHockey’s Michael Caples.