EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Colorado Avalanche are headed to their first Stanley Cup Final since 2001 after sweeping the Edmonton Oilers with a 6-5 overtime win in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Monday. And that Cup Final berth truly felt like it had been a long time coming.


 

After shaking hands with the Oilers, the Avs had their on-ice moment with the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl -- and yes, they touched it, superstitions be damned. Captain Gabriel Landeskog, who was drafted second overall by Colorado in 2011 and has been with the Avalanche ever since, wasn't about to miss out on any of the experiences earned, considering how far the team has come over his career.

Defenseman Erik Johnson predates even Landeskog with the Avalanche, having joined the club in 2010-11, and is their longest-tenured player.

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There were no guarantees Colorado would get the job done in Game 4. Edmonton had two multigoal leads on Monday, including a 4-2 advantage in the third period. That final frame is when the Avalanche really got rolling, though, with three unanswered goals -- from Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen.

Because what's coming next will be Avalanche's biggest challenge of all. And it'll be worth the wait, even if it takes a week or more for the Eastern Conference finals -- in which the New York Rangers lead the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 -- to wrap.

LOOK: 50 images of winning moments from sports history

Sometimes images are the best way to honor the figures we've lost. When tragedy swiftly reminds us that sports are far from the most consequential thing in life, we can still look back on an athlete's winning moment that felt larger than life, remaining grateful for their sacrifice on the court and bringing joy to millions.

Read on to explore the full collection of 50 images Stacker compiled showcasing various iconic winning moments in sports history. Covering achievements from a multitude of sports, these images represent stunning personal achievements, team championships, and athletic perseverance.

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