Playing in his first game back in Montreal since being traded to the Avalanche last March, Artturi Lehkonen’s memorable night began with two goals and ended abruptly with a broken finger.

The former Habs forward scored twice in the first period, reaching the 20-goal plateau for the first time and 100 career goals before leaving the game with an upper-body injury. Head coach Jared Bednar told reporters in Montreal post-game that Lehkonen had broken his finger and is headed back to Denver for surgery. A more clear timeline of his recovery will come following the procedure.

Colorado went on to defeat the Habs 8-4 at Bell Centre.

Lehkonen’s time in Montreal was highlighted by his Stanley Cup Final-clinching tally in 2021. He scored in overtime to help the Canadiens defeat the high-flying Vegas Golden Knights in five games in front of an empty Bell Centre because of the COVID pandemic. When he tallied a power-play goal for the visiting Avalanche on Monday, the crowd cheered. It was a sign of respect for a player that once helped them nearly reach the pinnacle of hockey.

If Lehkonen’s regular season is over, it’ll end with a career-high in goals (20), assists (29) and points (49) in just 62 games. His 20:34 average time on ice is 15th among NHL forwards. Lehkonen was a beast for Colorado in its Stanley Cup run last season and is hoping to do the same in 2023. Like many of his teammates, being healthy for the postseason is the goal.


Following the victory, the Avalanche (37-22-6, 80 points) pulled within four points of the idle Minnesota Wild with two games in hand for second place in the Central Division. The Avs scored four times in the opening period to open a 4-0 lead before Montreal started to storm back in the later stages of the game.

The intense matchup, which led to a combined 37 penalty minutes, was also filled with power-play goals. The Habs scored on one of their two opportunities, ending a stretch of 17 consecutive kills for the Avs. Colorado was perfect on the man advantage, capitalizing on all three of its chances.

Valeri Nichushkin (goal, two assists), Cale Makar (three assists) and Lehkonen (two goals, assist) all led the charge for Colorado’s offense. Nathan MacKinnon (goal, assist), Mikko Rantanen (goal, assist), Devon Toews (two assists) and Logan O’Connor (two assists) also had multi-point nights. In total, nine of the Avalanche’s 12 forwards recorded a point and four-of-six defensemen found the scoresheet.

Samuel Girard recorded an assist on Bowen Byram’s first-period goal, which helped him reach the 30-point mark — joining both Makar and Toews. Colorado is the only team in the NHL with three defensemen to have at least 30 points. Girard had seven points in his first 29 games to start the season. But since the calendar flipped to 2023, he has 23 points — five on the power play — in just 30 games.

Colorado continues its road trip in Toronto on Wednesday.