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SHL Final Game Four Recap: Lehkonen earns two assists, Frölunda takes a 3-1 series lead

Artturi Lehkonen's Frölunda took a stranglehold over Skellefteå in the SHL final, as the Habs prospect approaches history.


The tempo was high to start off the fourth game of the Swedish Hockey League final, with very few whistles interrupting play. Shots were abundant for both teams, but there always seemed to be a leg or a stick in the way, nullifying the majority of the scoring chances.

The players also seemed to have adapted to the referees, and the only power play in the first period came on a cross-checking call for Skellefteå, which yielded very few chances.

At the start of the second period Skellefteå was on the power play, and while they couldn't set up the play, Frölunda attempted a line change. Skellefteå's goaltender, Erik Hanses, sent a long pass up to Norman at the blue line. It was followed by cross zone pass to Zackrisson, and the puck was quickly in the back of the net. Skellefteå held a 1-0 lead, and up until that point no team who scored first had lost a game in the series.

Thanks to some quick hands by Habs prospect Artturi Lehkonen, Frölunda tied the game. The skilled forward was pushed behind the net, and the resulting play saw the puck come right to him. He quickly found Ryan Lasch near the crease for a tap in.

Lehkonen was back at it just 71 seconds later. His point shot went wide, where Johan Sundström got hold of the puck and tapped it in for a 2-1 lead.

In the first attack of the third period, Skellefteå equalized on a sharp angle shot where Erik Forsell managed to capitalize on a rebound.

After a Frölunda attack, Skellefteå couldn't manage to get the puck out of the zone, which led to an Elias Fälth blast from the blue line that went straight into the net. It was some good work from Leafs prospect Andreas Johnson in front of the goalie, as he took a big cross check to ensure the goal. The rest of the period went off in a flurry, and the players could barely stand still as the adrenaline was surely pumping through their bodies.

It's small things that tend to decide the games between the two best teams in Sweden, as we saw when Lehkonen scored off an intercepted pass last game. Today it was Fälth that scored off another. Those small differences seem to be favouring Frölunda throughout the series.

It's worth noting that two undrafted players were holding a master class in Swedish defense today. Lucas Bengtsson and Sebastian Aho were prominent in their efforts and execution, both on the defensive side of the play as well as their offensive playmaking abilities.

Lehkonen Watch

He managed to alleviate pressure in the defensive zone several times, but he never tempted fate with an icing, which showed off his curling skills.

Early in the second period he had some good moves that he finished off with a backhand shot that went just wide. His first assist came off his good read of the play, he knew the puck would comeback behind the net so he waited there for the opportunity to create a goal. In his own words in the intermission interview; "I knew Ryan was in front of the net, I just had to throw it in there."

On the power play just over a minute later, he let lose with his heavy shot, and Sundström tapped it in from close after it bounced off the boards.

Having beaten the previous record for most points by a Finnish player in the playoffs for Frölunda, Lehkonen is one point off Daniel Alfredsson's all-time record for Frölunda in the playoffs, 18 points. While Alfredsson had more goals, it would be an incredible feat to beat his record, and it would also show the incredible company that Lehkonen keeps in Frölunda history.