Montreal’s Artturi Lehkonen, back right, celebrates with teammates after scoring in overtime to give the Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 6 of their Stanley Cup semifinal series Thursday night in Montreal. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP

MONTREAL — Artturi Lehkonen scored 1:39 into overtime, Carey Price stopped 37 shots and the Montreal Canadiens advanced to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 28 years with a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.

Cole Caufield and captain Shea Weber also scored, and the Canadiens eliminated the Golden Knights in Game 6 of their semifinal series. Considered mere afterthoughts after entering the playoffs with the worst record, Montreal has won 11 of 13 since falling behind 3-1 to Toronto in its first-round series.

Montreal will make its playoff-leading 35th Stanley Cup final appearance with a shot to add to its 24 championships. The Canadiens will face the winner of the series between the defending champion Lightning and New York Islanders. Game 7 is at Tampa Bay on Friday.

The Golden Knights, making their third semifinal appearance in four seasons of existence, fell short of returning to the championship round for the second time; they lost to Washington in five games in 2018. They were undone by a sputtering offense that managed just nine goals following a series-opening 4-1 win, and an anemic power play that went 0 for 17 in the series.

After a faceoff in the Montreal end, Price held his ground to stop former Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty, who was set up in the left circle.

Montreal gained possession of the rebound and Nick Suzuki entered the Vegas zone, then slipped a pass to his left to Lehkonen, who lifted a shot that beat goalie Robin Lehner high on the short side.

Lehner stopped 29 shots.

The Golden Knights twice erased one-goal deficits. Reilly Smith scored 48 seconds after Weber opened the scoring. Alec Martinez tied it again 68 seconds into the third period by converting a rebound after Price was unable to glove Alex Pietrangelo’s shot from the top of the right circle.


KRAKEN: Seattle hired Dave Hakstol as head coach of the expansion franchise that will begin play this fall.

Hakstol will lead the first-year organization in his second head job in the NHL. He coached the Philadelphia Flyers for three-plus seasons from 2015-19 and spent the past two years as a Toronto Maple Leafs assistant.

“Dave possesses great experience, a strong work ethic, a solid technical understanding of the game and the remarkable ability to communicate clearly and effectively,” General Manager Ron Francis said. “I look forward to working with Dave as we strive to build a team our fans will be proud of.”

Hakstol, 52, coached the Flyers to two playoff appearances, but both were first-round losses and he was fired midway through his fourth season. He coached at the University of North Dakota for 11 years and was an off-the-board hire six years ago for then-Philadelphia general manager Ron Hextall, just as he is for Francis this time.

“I am honored to be joining this tremendous group,” Hakstol said. “When I first saw the arena, I was blown away. It is such a unique venue. I am looking forward to being a part of the group that builds a team that plays with pride, passion and selflessness for the city of Seattle.”

The expectations for the Kraken are success from the start and the team will join the Pacific Division, with the Arizona Coyotes shifting to the Central.

Hakstol’s task will be significant, trying to equal the success of the the league’s last expansion franchise, however unrealistic it might be for the Kraken to match the Golden Knights. Vegas reached the Stanley Cup final in its inaugural season and has made the playoffs in all four years since its inception.

The hiring fits the timeline Francis set out from the start of wanting Seattle’s coaching search settled before the end of June, well before the July 21 expansion draft and July 23 NHL draft when the Kraken will have the No. 2 overall selection.

Hakstol got the job over former Arizona Coach Rick Tocchet and others who interviewed multiple times. Francis, Hakstol and Seattle assistant GM Jason Botterill were together with Canada’s team at the 2019 world championship.

While Hakstol ended up with the job, he may not have been the initial favorite.

Gerard Gallant seemed the obvious option for Seattle because of his experience leading Vegas through its record-setting first season that ended with a loss to Washington in the final. Gallant opted to go to the New York Rangers over potentially taking on the challenges of another first-year franchise.

The Kraken are expected to begin training camp in September, with the season likely to begin in mid-October.

STARS: Dallas signed forward Rhett Gardner to a $1.5 million, two-year contract.

Gardner, 25, had a goal and an assist in 28 games this season and finished with 52 hits. He has appeared in 36 NHL games, and has spent parts of three seasons with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.

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