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Video: Port Moody NHLer does 'The Michigan' (again) on unconventional goal's anniversary

Port Moody's Kent Johnson has now successfully completed the lacrosse-style goal at three different levels of hockey.
Port Moody's Kent Johnson celebrates his "Michigan" goal, the 15th of his NHL rookie season, in front of a sold-out Nationwide Arena crowd on the 27th anniversary of the rare lacrosse-style goal on March 24, 2023.

It wasn't the first time Kent Johnson was successful in attempting what's dubbed in the hockey world as "The Michigan" goal.

This one was just a bit more special as it came on the anniversary of the first known goal of its kind.

On March 24, 1996, Mike Legg, a University of Michigan men's hockey player, scored a goal in a style normally seen in lacrosse where one picks up the puck with the blade of the stick and reaches from behind the net, tucking the frozen biscuit into the top corner.

Twenty-seven years later, Johnson recorded the sixth "Michigan" in NHL history Friday night — the first of his professional career — in a 5-4 overtime victory for the Columbus Blue Jackets over the New York Islanders.

The rare display of precision and skill from the Port Moody product, and a University of Michigan alumni himself, came with under three minutes left in the second period with the game tied, 2-2.

Johnson skated with the puck on the right side of the Islanders' end, faked a shot in front and passed it to himself between his legs near the corner to sneak past a couple of defenders.

Once behind the net, he quickly places the puck on the end of his stick, reaches up for the left corner of the cage and pokes it past goaltender Ilya Sorokin to notch his 15th goal of his rookie campaign.

"The Michigan" is a rare sighting at the professional level, but Legg's work of art has inspired many young aspiring hockey players to master the shot.

For Johnson, he's now scored that goal twice in the past seven months after tallying one in a preliminary match with Canada against Czechia at the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton.

Prior to college, he also pulled off "The Michigan" once in the BC Hockey League (BCHL) with the Trail Smoke Eaters

The 20-year-old had attempted the lacrosse-style goal twice earlier this season, but was not able to convert on either one.

"It feels a lot better for sure [than missing it]," he told after the win.

"It's always nice to score, but especially that, so it felt good.

"I always want to score goals and score any way," Johnson added.

 "I don't know if [scoring a Michigan] was the goal [this season], but I was really happy. I don't know that I was relieved at all. I just think I was really pumped. I don't really control what I do when I celly, I just black out or whatever." 

Johnson's feat has since caught so much attention, he's now the featured athlete across the NHL's social media channels and was given his own segment on ESPN this morning (March 25).

Johnson has now notched 37 points in 68 games this year with Columbus with 11 left on the 2022-23 season's calendar.

The Port Moody Amateur Hockey Association (PMAHA) alum was the fifth overall pick for the Blue Jackets in the 2021 NHL Draft, and inked an entry-level contract in April last year.

His team is in Montreal tonight for a meeting with the Canadiens at 4 p.m. Pacific time.