For a long time, Artturi Lehkonen seemed like the unluckiest member of the Montreal Canadiens. He got into good positions, played sound defensively, and always managed to get himself into the right areas to score only to fling his shot wide or off the goal post. No matter what he did he didn’t seem able to recover the goal-scoring touch he had in his rookie season.
This past week has flipped the script, as Lehkonen was one of the few Canadiens who was noticeable for the right reasons over the course of multiple frustrating losses. He scored against the Columbus Blue Jackets, then added a pair against the New York Rangers on Saturday, pulling himself out of a skid once again. He did so by using his greatest weapon — his shot — and that something that’s been dormant in his slumps.
He made full use of the space around him to load up a heavy shot that he blew past Alexander Georgiev. It was nothing fancy, just a powerful, quick release that can put a ton of velocity behind his shots.
While the highlight above is two years old, we see a similar pattern. Lehkonen attacks with speed, loads up quickly and beats a goalie with ease.
Hopefully this is the Lehkonen we’ll see more of going forward. With Jonathan Drouin on the mend and Paul Byron also missing, the Canadiens needed someone to step up in their spot. Right now it looks like the 24-year-old Finn is starting to do just that, however even if it does get lost in what was an awful week overall.
Lehkonen has the offensive talents to help push the Canadiens in the right direction, and gaining confidence in the past few games should help build toward better things for him. Lehkonen is pulling his weight, but it’s all hands on deck for the short-handed Habs right now, and the team needs others to match that same effort every night.