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Canadiens back in Stanley Cup Final after 28-year absence

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The Montreal Canadiens are heading back to the Stanley Cup Final.

Artturi Lehkonen was able to get a shot past Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner to give the Canadiens the overtime victory in Game 6. Lehkonen had four shots on goal the entire night and the final shot was the most important one for Montreal.

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The Canadiens’ scoring started in the first period when Shea Weber put the team up one goal. Vegas’ Reilly Smith would tied the game less than a minute later.

Montreal would go back up in the second period when Cole Caufield put together a nifty move in the neutral zone and fired a shot past Lehner. But even Carey Price’s most valiant efforts couldn’t keep Vegas from tying the game.

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Alec Martinez tied the game more than a minute into the third period. It was Martinez’s fourth goal of the playoffs.

Lehner couldn’t keep the Canadiens at bay in overtime.

The Canadiens will head back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1993. Montreal finished the season 24-21-11 with 59 points and finishing fourth in the NHL’s North Division. The uniqueness of the coronavirus-impacted season kept Montreal in Canada until this series with Vegas.

Now, Montreal is vying for a championship.

Montreal has the most Stanley Cup championships in NHL history. The team won its first as a member of the National Hockey Association and 23 others when they moved to the NHL. It will be their 35th appearance.

But it’s been 28 years since the Canadiens had a chance to vie for the title. Jacques Demers was in his first season as the Canadiens’ coach. Vincent Damphousse and Kirk Mulller were leading the team in scoring.

Caufield, Price, Jeff Petry, Nick Suzuki and the rest of the team have a chance to join the ranks of Patrick Roy, Serve Savard, Jean Beliveau and countless others.

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Montreal awaits the winner of the series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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