The Montreal Canadiens 2020-21 season was a fun, then excruciating, then fantastic ride for its fans. The roller coaster ride was a wild thing to be a part of and fans sure missed it during the dreadful followup season.
The Canadiens began that Covid shortened, Canada-only season on absolute fire. They were 7-1-2, scoring like the 1980s Edmonton Oilers and Carey Price looked like a million bucks. Or, well, maybe he looked like $10.5 million bucks.
Whatever the case, the team was unstoppable and called a juggernaut infamously by one of those Leafs-loving media types. The regular season went downhill from there but they squeezed into the postseason, fell behind 3-1 in their opening round series, and then the magic began.
Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored overtime goals, Corey Perry scored a Corey Perry goal in Game 7 and the Habs moved on. Then they demolished the Winnipeg Jets in four games, before taking on the heavily favoured Vegas Golden Knights.
The magical playoff continued as the Canadians didn’t back down, came home for Game 6 with a 3-2 series lead and a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1993. And they did, thanks to a sweet shot in overtime by Artturi Lehkonen who snapped the puck over the shoulder of Robin Lehner.
Artturi Lehkonen sends Montreal to the Stanley Cup Final! 🚨
— theScore (@theScore) June 25, 2021
It was quite a moment in the career of Artturi Lehkonen. Scoring an overtime game winning goal in the playoffs is not something players will do often in their careers. Scoring one that sends their team to the Stanley Cup Finals is a rarity.
But, Lehkonen just did it again last night. Less than a year after sending the Canadiens to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1993, Lehkonen scored the goal that would send the Colorado Avalanche to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since they won it all in 2001 with Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Patrick Roy and Ray Bourque.
Lehkonen tipped a Cale Makar point shot that Oilers goaltender Mike Smith got a piece of, but the rebound sat all alone for Lehkonen to gather and fire into the open net.
Including the postseason, it was the 92nd goal the former Canadiens winger has scored in his NHL career. Amazingly, it was the second time his goal ended a game that sent his team to the Stanley Cup Final.
Some players leave the Habs and you kind of forget they ever played here. Others, you wish had left much earlier. But players like Lehkonen chisel out a special place in Habs fans hearts with their work ethic, defensive game and never quit attitude. Scoring the franchise’s biggest goal in nearly three decades helps too.
All the best to Lehkonen and the Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Final!
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