Before the start of the 2021-22 regular season, Washington Capitals forward Connor McMichael was considered the team’s best prospect, having impressed in an unexpected 2020-21 season with the Hershey Bears of the American League. hockey in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, after a full NHL season under his belt, the 21-year-old former first-round pick gets his first taste of the Stanley Cup chase.
McMichael, who was selected 25th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, finished the 2021-22 regular season recording 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in 68 games played, sometimes going through the early struggles of a youngster. player adapting to the pace of the NHL.
“Obviously I got used to the pace of the game in the NHL, so the difference between the playoffs and the regular season isn’t as big as it was if I just jumped into a playoff game, but like I said, the pace of the game is for sure, and the physics, and it’s a lot of fun to be a part of. I think I just have a lot of games under my belt now. I’ve the feeling that there are not as many nerves… I think I have become more comfortable with my game and I am improving.
The Ajax, Ont., native got his first taste of playoff hockey at Capital One Arena in the Caps’ 6-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday, where a boisterous sea of red saw their team take a 2-1 series lead.
“It was really cool. Honestly it was more than I could have imagined and the crowd brought a lot of energy last night, even when we went out for warm-ups the rink was pretty packed. was fun to be a part of and it was great that we went out there and got the win the pace of play was up the physical obviously the energy in the building helped our team a lot and gave us extra motivation to release that one.
The Capitals face the Cats in Game 2 at Capital One Arena on Monday, looking to take a 3-1 lead over the President’s Trophy winners.
“It’s well known, they’re a fast team, they show it every night and they have very good players. We stick to our game, we keep it physical by not letting them do what they want to do there, and I think we did a good job of containing their big players.
The Capitals entered their first-round clash against Florida as the second wildcard team in the Eastern Conference and were widely considered the “lesser” of the two clubs. The Capitals, however, are nearly four years away from their Stanley Cup run and are a veteran team that has more than kept pace with the Panthers.
“It shows a lot that we have a group of veterans and guys who have a lot of experience. Coming into the series we were obviously labeled as the underdogs against the winners of the president’s trophy so it just shows our team is ready to compete no matter who we’re up against and we’ve done a good job so far here.
The Capitals and Panthers will play Game 4 on Monday at 7:00 p.m. EST.
“It was really cool. It was honestly more than I could have imagined. The crowd brought a lot of energy last night.
– x – Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 8, 2022