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Short Shifts

Kasperi Kapanen's big moment has been brewing a while

Maple Leafs forward took pointers from dad in the driveway @NHLdotcom

Kasperi Kapanen has a knack for overtime heroics and that may have begun in his driveway with dad, two-time NHL All-Star Sami Kapanen.

The 20-year-old forward was the hero for the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday, converting an absolutely gorgeous pass from Brian Boyle in the second overtime to secure a 4-3 win against the Washington Capitals, knotting the series 1-1.

Video: TOR@WSH, Gm2: Kapanen tallies winner in double OT

Just after the score, a 17-year-old picture surfaced on Twitter of a pint-sized Kasperi playing roller hockey with his dad in front of their North Carolina home. 

Tweet from @MikeSundheim: Kasperi Kapanen, Raleigh, NC, 2000. #StanleyCup Playoffs.

Sami Kapanen spent the first eight of his 13 NHL seasons with the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes franchise and played his last NHL game in 2008 with the Philadelphia Flyers. He then played for KalPa Kuopio in SM-liiga in Finland, where Kasperi was his teammate in 2013.

All that playing time with dad seems to have paid off for Kasperi, who the Maple Leafs acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of the trade for Phil Kessel on July 1, 2015. Despite Saturday being just his 19th career NHL game (and second playoff game), the Finnish-born Kapanen already has a reputation for big goals.

Video: PIT@TOR: Kapanen ties game with first NHL goal

In Toronto's game against the Penguins that clinched a playoff spot for the Maple Leafs, he scored the game-tying goal in the third period before Connor Brown put them ahead for good.

At the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, Kasperi scored the golden goal in overtime to beat Russia 4-3.

Watch: Youtube Video

That feat that landed him on a special edition stamp in his home country.

So many big moments in such a short time. This won't be the last we hear from Kasperi.

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