As if the 2021-22 NHL regular season couldn’t get any worse, they now have to be in every highlight reel for years to come after allowing Anaheim Ducks winger Trevor Zegras to score on ‘The Michigan’ trick play.
— MurphysLaw74 (@MurphysLaw74) January 28, 2022
Note: That’s the fourth time an NHL player has scored on ‘The Michigan’. Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov has done it twice and Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg did it once as well.
After another dismal first period and heading into the first intermission down 3-0 to the Ducks, the Montreal Canadiens came out buzzing to start the second period, and 1:15 into the middle frame, forward Jake Evans put the Habs on the board with a beautiful finish off of a Rem Pitlick feed.
Poor Jake Evans scored a beautiful goal and then Trevor Zegras just immediately made everyone forget about it. pic.twitter.com/m5fySxk7Mv
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) January 28, 2022
Ironically, Evans is a Notre Dame hockey product and just ten seconds later, Trevor Zegras made it 4-1 Ducks with a trick play that got its name from a play named after their archrival. Former University Michigan player Mike Legg was the first to pull this goal off successfully back in March 1996.
Trevor Zegras actually turned ‘The Michigan’ into an assist as well when he fed Ducks teammate Sonny Milano for a goal back on Dec. 7 in a 2-0 Ducks win over the Sabres in Buffalo.
Ironically, prior to the Ducks beating the Bruins 5-3 on Tuesday night at TD Garden in Boston, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was asked if NHL teams are starting to include the potential of trick plays like this into their game-planning each game after Trevor Zegras used it to pass for a goal in December.
“I think everyone saw it right, so that’s a detail, sort of heat of the moment type play that you hope your D can recognize,” Boston Bruins head coach Bruins Cassidy said Monday morning after the game-day skate. “So, hey if the stopped behind the net, especially in our system, we try not to chase the man behind the net so it’s a play that might be there because of the way we defend and try to push out the other side and keep the guy at the post as opposed to chasing him.
Cassidy most likely warned of his team’s susceptibility to getting burned by ‘The Michigan’ because they almost did earlier this season in a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Black Friday back in November. Rangers winger Chris Kreider almost pulled it off and if not for a stick side knock by Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark, he would’ve gone viral like Svechnikov and Zegras.
Cassidy thinks teams are more aware of players like Trevor Zegras and the threat of being burned on trick plays but won’t necessarily strategize against such plays and include them in their game plan.
“Is it changing the way the game’s played and prepared for?” Cassidy asked. “I think more and more players are used to doing that at lower levels and they work on it in practice and try different things so, there’s a little bit more of an appetite for that. Players have the ability to do some unique things. I’m sure you’ll see more and more of those types of plays.
Can everybody do it? No. Is it going to happen every night? I don’t think so because it is a play that if you see coming, I think you should be able to defend it but it’s just as, like I said, a spur-of-the-moment play, quick decision and fast hands and good for [The Ducks], they got a goal out of it, but I still think you’ll see more typical hockey plays from behind the net trying to get pucks into the slot for one-timers. Again, as hockey fans, I think you applaud those plays. Hopefully, we don’t get burned by it.”