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.
Erik Condra and the Senators are moving on to Round 2. The Trenton native had a goal and an assist last night in Ottawa’s 6-1 thrashing of the Montreal Canadiens last night, as they wrapped up their series with a 4-1 record to advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Condra, a Notre Dame alum, might as well get credited with two goals – his ‘assist’ was him firing a puck off Kyle Turris and into the net on a shorthanded rush to make the game 3-1 for the Sens. His official goal, registered at the 16:12 mark of the third period, was on a rebound in a net-front scramble. It increased the Senators’ lead to 6-1, and was the final nail in the coffin for the Canadiens’ season. Condra had a goal and three assists in the first-round series, after recording four goals and eight assists in the regular season.
More MiHockey articles on Condra:
The New York Rangers have tied up their series with the Washington Capitals, and one of the people the Blueshirts’ faithful should thank is Carl Hagelin. The former University of Michigan star scored in the second period last night to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead, and when that ended up not being enough, Hagelin set up the game-winning goal in the third. Oh yeah, and he had an assist in the first period, too. The three-point night by the man responsible for Swedish flags filling Yost Ice Arena for four seasons turned out to be huge for New York, as they won 4-3 to tie the series at two games apiece. And his goal was a snipe from the left circle – while dealing with a bouncing puck – by the way.
More MiHockey articles on Hagelin:
The Pittsburgh Penguins were on the losing side of things last night, but it wasn’t because of James Neal. The former Plymouth Whalers star returned to the line-up for Game 4 after missing the two previous Penguins/Islanders match-ups with an ankle injury, and scored in the first period to tie the game for his squad. Neal finished off a passing play between all-star linemates Evgeni Malkin and Jerome Iginla by rifling a shot past Evgeni Nabokov. It was the first postseason goal of the spring for the former Whalers standout – he played in Plymouth from 2003-2007 – after he recorded 21 during the shortened regular season. With the top-seeded Penguins now all tied up with the Islanders, they will need Neal to continue to find the back of the net, as they try to avoid a major first-round upset.
More MiHockey articles on Neal:
This guy might be showing up on the Michi-gamer list a lot in the next few weeks if he can keep his team in the hunt for a second straight Stanley Cup championship. Former Plymouth Whalers star Justin Williams scored the game-winning goal for the Los Angeles Kings last night, helping them even their series with the St. Louis Blues at two games apiece. Just 1:16 after teammate Anze Kopitar scored to tie the game in the third period, Williams found a way to get his stick on a shot from Mike Richards, and deflect it past Brian Elliott for the GWG. It was Williams’ third game-winning goal in the NHL Playoffs, and it was a huge one for the Kings.
More MiHockey articles on Williams:
Chris Kunitz’s career year has continued into the playoffs. The Ferris State alum scored the game-winner for the Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday afternoon, saving the day yet again. At the 8:44 mark of the first overtime period, Kunitz took a feed from Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby and fired it past Evgeni Nabokov for the decisive goal. It was Kunitz’s second goal of the day, and he had an assist mixed in, as well. In only 48 games this season, Kunitz posted an impressive 22 goals and 30 assists for 52 points. While it didn’t match his career highs – he recorded 26 goals and 61 points last season – he nearly matched them in a 48-game season, instead of having 82 games to work with. The former Bulldog also had five game-winners this year, which put him behind only Plymouth Whalers alum James Neal for the team lead.
More MiHockey articles on Kunitz:
To see last week’s Michi-gamer nominations, click here.
This week’s Michi-gamer list assembled by MiHockey’s Michael Caples.