Blue Jackets' Kent Johnson scores lacrosse-style goal on move's 27th anniversary
Johnson has successfully pulled off the play at every level except in college with the University of Michigan, where it was invented.
Columbus Blue Jackets forward and Michigan alum Kent Johnson didn’t just pull off any old “ Michigan” on Friday. Remarkably, Johnson successfully executed the skillful play 27 years to the day that Mike Legg scored the iconic goal for the first time.
Here’s Kent Johnson scoring with that increasingly popular (and decreasingly polarizing) lacrosse-style move for the Blue Jackets against the Islanders in Columbus’ eventual 5-4 OT win from Thursday. It marks the 20-year-old rookie's 15th goal of the season.
27 years after "The Michigan Goal" was born by Mike Legg, a 20-year-old who played at @umichhockey just pulled it off in the @NHL.
What a goal by @BlueJacketsNHL forward Kent Johnson! pic.twitter.com/VGRnjianlX
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 25, 2023
Strangely enough, Johnson has found a way to pull off “The Michigan” lacrosse goal in multiple hockey settings, but never during his time with the NCAA’s Michigan Wolverines.
Despite falling short of tucking one in top corner, the Port Moody, BC., native dominated at the University of Michigan, accumulating 64 points in 58 games over two seasons in college.
While he couldn’t find the right set of circumstances to pull such a move off at the collegiate level, Johnson did score that way at the 2022 World Juniors.
If that wasn’t enough, Johnson also made it happen for the BCHL’s (wonderfully named) Trail Smoke Eaters.
The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger points out that Johnson seemed to almost say “finally” when he scored with that bit of wizardry at the NHL level. That’s because Johnson has attempted it and nearly sealed the deal before, indicating a certain level of comfort deploying the sort of skill that makes cranky people like John Tortorella grind their teeth.
As Mike Legg told Sportsnet about his now-infamous goal, opponents tried to scare him out of attempting his personal ode to lacrosse.
“I had my life threatened. I had a bounty on my head,” Legg said. “At the start of games, guys would come up to me and say, ‘If you’re going to try that tonight, we are bench-clearing-brawling you. Like, we will jump you.’ I’m like, ‘Oh okay, that’s nice to know.'”
In the event that the iconic goal wasn’t burned into your memory — or if you just want to bask in the tally once again — here's Legg's March 24, 1996 classic.
Other lacrosse-style goals won’t make it feel like the stars have aligned quite like this one, but it’s wonderful that such superb displays of skill are becoming more and more common in hockey.