NHL playoffs: Lehkonen plays heroes

EDMONTON | Despite a certain offensive flair, Artturi Lehkonen was never recognized as a great scorer during his time with the Canadian.

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Nevertheless, yesterday, Joe Sakic had to congratulate himself for having made his acquisition at the deadline for transactions. The Finn played the heroes by beating Mike Smith after only 79 seconds of play in overtime.

He gave the Avalanche a 6-5 win, propelling his team to the Stanley Cup final.

It’s 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 last season, on the ice of the Bell Center, during this famous game of June 24.

Lehkonen’s sixth goal of this series capped off a brilliant three-point night. Previously, he had been complicit in the goals of Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon.

” It’s crazy ! I’m super excited to make it to the final. But the job is not done,” MacKinnon said, moments before he and his teammates had their portraits taken around the Clarence-Campbell Trophy.

In fact, Lehkonen played an active part in the Avalanche’s comeback, whose three consecutive goals in the third period transformed a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead.

It took Zack Kassian’s reply, with less than four minutes to play, to push both teams into overtime.

Draisaitl on one foot

The Oilers’ presence in the Western final, a stage that the Alberta team reached for the first time since 2006, was short-lived.

Unable to contain Colorado’s attack, and handicapped by a rather erratic goaltender, Edmonton was shown the exit door in four games.

It is often said that the Stanley Cup is the most difficult trophy to win. The ranks of the team that goes all the way usually include several cripples.

Talk to the Canadian who watched Shea Weber play despite being mortgaged by possibly career-ending injuries.

We are not there on the side of Leon Draisaitl. However, the 26-year-old German is clearly affected by an ankle injury suffered in the first round against the Kings. He did well against the Flames, but we often see him wincing in pain since 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 saw him writhing in pain on his bench for several minutes.

Still, Draisaitl finished the night with four assists. He made himself an accomplice of the 10e et 11e goals from Zach Hyman’s playoffs, Connor McDavid’s 10th, as well as Kassian’s goal, which sent both teams into overtime.

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It’s the seventh time this spring that Draisaitl has collected at least three points in a single night (and a third four-point game).

Unfortunately, his brilliant career as well as that of McDavi will not experience the hoped-for outcome.

In the victory, Cale Makar, author of a goal and four assists, edged Rob Blake (2001) and Sandis Ozolinsh (1996) for the most points by an Avalanche defenseman during the same tournament . The 23-year-old Albertan now has 22.

First period

1-Col: Cale Makar (5) (Lehkonen) AN-3: 46

Punitions: Kassian (Edm) 2:53, Helm (Col) 10:19, Johnson (Col) 16:00

Second period

2-Edm: Zach Hyman (10) (Draisaitl, Nurse) 7:39
3-Edm: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (6) (Sans aide) 16:57
4-Edm: Connor McDavid (10) (Draisaitl, Barrie) AN-18:54

Punitions: Landeskog (Col) 8:06, Newhook (Col) 18:02

Third period

5-Col: Devon Toews (5) (Landeskog, Makar) 0:31
6-Edm: Zach Hyman (11) (Draisaitl, McDavid) 3:55
7-Col: Gabriel Landeskog (8) (Sans aide) 8:58
8-Col: Nathan Mackinnon (11) (Lehkonen, Makar) 1:30 p.m.
9-Col: Mikko Rantanen (5) (Makar, Landeskog) AN-14: 47
10-Edm: Zack Kassian (2) (Draisaitl, McDavid) 16:38

Punitions: Mackinnon (Col) 11:02, Ryan (Edm) 14:06

Prolongation

11-Col: Artturi Lehkonen (6) (Makar, Helm) 1:19

Punishments: No punishment

Shoot to the net

Colorado 16 – 10 – 14 – 2 – 42 Edmonton 12 – 8 – 15 – 0 – 35

Guardians:

Col: Pavel Francouz (G, 6-0), Edm: Mike Smith (P, 8-6)

Numerical advantages:

Col: 2 and 2, Edm: 1 and 5

Referees:

Chris Rooney, Jean Hebert

Linesmen:

Jonny Murray, Ryan Gibbons

ASSISTANCE:

18 347

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