Artturi Lehkonen left the Canadian with the reputation of a player who has lost golden opportunities to score. He finished his first playoff run with Avalanche on a man’s skates for big occasions.
Already the author of the winning goal that led Colorado to the Stanley Cup final, the 26-year-old left winger is once 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 am).
“I feel so good, he launched the Finn on these two important goals. Tonight’s was scored in the second period. So I crossed my fingers that we can resist. “
Lehkonen, he will recall, also turned on 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 the first finals since 1993 by scoring, like this year, in extra time.
INTERVIEW ARTTURI LEHKONEN –
The Habs’ long agony followed, then this transaction, in Colorado, in exchange for Justin Barron and a second pick in 2024.
“It was an emotional roller coaster. To be traded, to get here, to win the Stanley Cup. It’s an incredible feeling, “he described when he joined the ice at Amalie Arena.
The story ended better than last year, when the Canadian lost in five games to the same team as Lightning.
Sakic cared about him
Architect of this lineup, Joe Sakic will be able to congratulate himself at length on this acquisition made at the end of the transactions.
“It made a big difference on our trip. From day one, he has been a perfect addition to our team. There weren’t any adjustments either, Sakic said, watching his players celebrate with their families. Also, because of the way he plays, I think he could serve any team. He always plays the right way. He is so smart and competitive. “
With such compliments, we understand better why Sakic phoned Kent Hughes to inquire about the availability of the player the Habs had selected 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,” described the Avalanche general manager.
“He’s so good on the defensive which is what people see. But he’s a guy who is able to score and make little plays that don’t stand out,” he continued.
The damaged lightning
While the Avalanche players cheered on the playing surface, the Lightning players experienced the agony of defeat for the first time since the sweep at the hands of the Blue Jackets in the spring of 2019.
“It’s hard to swallow. The past three years have been incredible, said Steven Stamkos, his eyes red with emotion. For those who were there, this defeat hurts as much as the one we suffered the first time (in the 2015 final). It’s a terrible feeling. “
Like any team reaching the final round, Lightning’s locker room was overflowing with injured players.
“The state that some players are in is simply unimaginable. The sacrifice of these kids is staggering. That’s why the leak hurts even more, “the Lightning captain said.
Sure it was the same for Avalanche, but victory is the best pain reliever.