Lehkonen's game-winning goal: Perry predicted it!  - sports VAT

Lehkonen’s game-winning goal: Perry predicted it! – sports VAT

“Lehkonen, national hero! And the Canadians go through to the grand finale!”

Almost a year ago, on June 24, 2021, Artturi Lehkonen sowed mass hysteria in Quebec on the night of Saint-Jean-Baptiste by sending CH to the Stanley Cup final thanks to his game-clinching goal in overtime in Game 6 of a third-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Like many fans, the Finn still remembers it like it was yesterday. Lehkonen first spoke about this historic goal on the TVA Sports podcast “Dans l’œil du chat”, hosted by Félix Séguin, dedicated to CH’s unexpected and unexpected playoff run last summer. Listen to both episodes here:

In an interview, Lehkonen told an unpublished anecdote: Corey Perry had predicted that he would be the one who would have the honor of scoring the winning goal. Unbelievable though!

“During the intermission between the third period and overtime, Corey came up to me and said, ‘Lehky, this would be a good time for you to score a goal.’ … After the game, he said, ‘I told you so! !” It was so much fun,” he recalled with pleasure.

Lehkonen says he was so overexcited that he felt “like a blackout a minute after the goal”.

“Honestly, it’s a blur in my head how it happened, although I’ve seen that goal several times since then. It is without a doubt the most important goal of my career. Also, it was at St-Jean-Baptiste! It was an extraordinary moment.”

As a good teammate, Lehkonen gives much of the credit to his linemates Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher.

“Phil gave me a great pass. Gallagher wanted the puck too, but he couldn’t see anything but the goalkeeper and the net. “I was free, but he didn’t pass me the puck. I’ve been bothering him a lot about it this season!” Gallagher laughed.

In the end, Lehkonen was right with his shot… and Perry with his prediction!

“Before extra time, I told Lehkonen in the locker room that he had a chance to make history,” Perry recalled. So much the better that he was the one to score. Luckily we managed to win that night.”

The opportunity of your life

Perry was thus realizing a childhood dream.

“The Canadiens were my favorite team growing up. It was very special for me and my family to help a team with such a rich history reach the final for the first time in 28 years. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the expected result in the subsequent Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. But we can say that we tried.”

Also, without impressive strength of character, the CH might as well have been eliminated in the first round, while the Toronto Maple Leafs led the series 3-1 after four games. Inspired by veterans like Perry, Eric Staal, and Sh, ea Weber, Dominique Ducharme’s men have risen brilliantly.

Perry identified a very specific moment when everything changed.

“After game four, Dominique asked Staal and me to tell the other players what the playoffs are all about. The answer was that you should never take anything for granted. Staal won the Stanley Cup in his second year in the NHL (in 2006), and so did I (in 2007), but Staal hadn’t had another chance to make it to the finals. Veterans like Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot also didn’t know when they might return. It made an impression on my teammates.”

“We were confident going into Game 5,” he said. We knew that it was not over and that it was possible to return to the program. I told the others: “Do your best and don’t think too much about others. Hockey should remain a game and we should have fun.”

His message was heard.

The rest we know: the Habs won Games 5, 6, and 7 to topple their eternal rivals from Ontario.

And that was just the beginning of an epic madness that would be impossible to forget.

Photo credit: AFP

“Still in a tall»

Unlike Lehkonen and Perry, Paul Byron remains an integral member of the team.

Even if you experienced the reversal of glory while CH followed up with a season of misery, you will always have fond memories of this first appearance in the final in 1993.

“It is something I will remember for the rest of my life. The atmosphere was amazing, it gave me goosebumps. After the playoffs, when I was walking around town, everyone was still tall. It was a special moment for me and my family.”

On the podcast, you’ll also hear testimonials from Danault, Gallagher, and Cole Caufield.

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