Edmonton | Despite a certain attacking style, Artturi Lehkonen was never recognized as a great goalscorer during his time with the Canadians.
Yesterday, however, Joe Sakic had to congratulate himself for making his acquisition at the trading deadline. The Finn played the heroes by beating Mike Smith after just 79 seconds of play in extra time.
He gave the Avalanche a 6-5 victory, propelling his team to the Stanley Cup Final.
It is the second time in as many years that Lehkonen has scored the game-winning goal in the Western Conference Finals. He had done the same thing last season, on the ice at the Bell Center, during this famous game on June 24.
Lehkonen’s sixth goal in this series capped off a brilliant three-point night. Previously, he had been an accomplice in goals from Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon.
“This is crazy! I’m super excited to get to the final. But the work is not done,” MacKinnon said, moments before he and his teammates were pictured around the Clarence-Campbell Trophy.
Indeed, Lehkonen played an active role in the Avalanche’s comeback, whose three consecutive third-half goals turned a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead.
It took Zack Kassian’s response, with less than four minutes remaining, to push both teams into overtime.
Draisaitl on one foot
The Oilers’ presence in the Western finals, reached by the Alberta team for the first time since 2006, was short-lived.
Unable to contain Colorado’s attack and handicapped by a rather erratic goalie, Edmonton was shown the starting gate in four games.
The Stanley Cup is often said to be the most difficult trophy to win. The ranks of the team that makes it to the end often include several cripples.
Talk to the Canadian who watched Shea Weber play despite being mortgaged by potential career-ending injuries.
We are not there on the side of Leon Draisaitl. However, the 26-year-old German is affected by an ankle injury sustained in the first round against the Kings. He did well against the flames, but we often see him wincing from the start of this confrontation against the avalanche.
Just yesterday, we saw him get up with difficulty on a few occasions. Especially when Darren Helm hit him hard. We watched him writhe in pain on his bench for several minutes.
Still, Draisaitl finished the night with four assists. He became an accomplice of the 10me and 11me playoff goals from Zach Hyman, Connor McDavid’s 10th, as well as Kassian’s goal, which sent both teams to overtime.
It’s the seventh time this spring that Draisaitl has had at least three points in a single night (and a third four-point game).
Unfortunately, his brilliant career, like that of McDavid, will not have the expected outcome.
In the win, Cale Makar, a scorer of one goal and four assists, surpassed Rob Blake (2001) and Sandis Ozolinsh (1996) for the most points by an Avalanche defenseman during the same tournament. Albertan, 23, is now 22.
#NHL #Playoffs #Lehkonen #plays #heroes