Artturi Lehkonen left the Canadian with a reputation as a player who missed golden chances. He finished his first playoff run with the Avalanche in a man’s skates for grand occasions.
The 26-year-old left winger, who already scored the crucial goal that propelled Colorado to the Stanley Cup Finals, is again the one who scored the goal that made the difference and allowed the Avalanche to win the Stanley Cup for the first time time since 2001.
Above, Joe Sakic talks about Artturi Lehkonen’s contribution to Renaud Lavoie (at 2:17).
“I feel so good,” the Finn launched these two important goals. Tonight’s goal was scored in the second period. So I keep my fingers crossed that we manage to resist. »
Lehkonen, it will be recalled, also flashed the red light at a significant moment last summer. In the middle of St-Jean-Baptiste’s evening he had allowed the Habs to reach a first finals since 1993 by scoring in extra time, as he did this year.
ARTTURI LEHKONEN INTERVIEW –
The long agony of the Habs followed, then this transaction, in Colorado, in exchange for Justin Barron and a second-round pick in 2024.
“It was a roller coaster of emotions. Get traded, come here, win the Stanley Cup. It’s an incredible feeling,” he said as he stepped onto the ice at the Amalie Arena.
The story ended better than last year when the Canadian lost to the same Lightning team in five games.
Sakic took care of him
Joe Sakic, architect of this formation, will have long to congratulate himself on this acquisition, which was made as of the date of the transactions.
“He made a huge difference on our journey. He complemented our team perfectly from day one. There weren’t even any adjustments, Sakic said while watching his players celebrate with their families. Also, I think the way he’s playing, he could serve any team. He always plays right. He’s so smart and competitive. »
With compliments like this, we better understand why Sakic called Kent Hughes to inquire about the availability of the player the Habs picked in the second round (55th overall) of the 2013 draft.
“We just had to see him play in the playoffs last year to understand that he would be a perfect addition to our team, that his style would match what we like to play,” said the Avalanche’s general manager.
“He’s so good defensively, people see that. But he’s a guy who’s capable of scoring goals and making little plays that you don’t realize,” he continued.
The damaged lightning
While Avalanche players cheered on the court, Lightning players felt the agony of defeat for the first time since the Blue Jackets sweep in Spring 2019.
“It’s hard to swallow. The past three years have been incredible, Steven Stamkos said, eyes flushed with emotion. For those who were there, this defeat hurts just as much as the one we suffered the first time (in the 2015 final). It’s a terrible feeling. »
Like every team that reaches the finals, Lightning’s dressing room was overflowing with injured players.
“The condition of some players is simply unimaginable. The sacrifice of these guys is breathtaking. That’s why the loss hurts even more,” said the Lightning captain.
It was certainly the same for the Avalanche, but victory is the best painkiller.