Why Wyshynski likes the Avs to score under 3.5 goals in Game 2 (0:39)

In the second game of the Stanley Cup Final, Greg Wyshynski is expecting the Avs to score 3.5 goals. :39

2:17 PM ET

Jack Johnson is having a great time on and off the ice.

Colorado's veteran defenseman waited 16 years to play in the Stanley Cup Final, which the Avs lead 2-0 over the Bolts heading into Saturday's game.

Johnson graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in general studies.

It took a long time to get to both achievements. He thought he wouldn't make it in pro hockey. He would reach the top of his game at the same time.

It took me eighteen years to finish. Most people are a doctor at that time. I didn't think I would be good enough to play in the NHL. I wanted to go to the University of Michigan and play hockey. It was a big deal to me. I'm proud of that.

Johnson was drafted third overall by the Carolina Hurricanes. The Indiana native chose to stay at Michigan for the next two years, instead of immediately turning pro.

Johnson said he wouldn't pass up the chance at any point. I didn't think I was prepared for the NHL after my freshman year. I want to stay at the University of Michigan. I didn't want to leave a major university to play in the minor leagues. I had a great time there and I don't regret it.

He left for the NHL without making a final pledge.

Johnson said that he was going to finish. I called him right away.

In 18 years of coursework en route to his degree from Michigan, Jack Johnson said statistics was the "hardest course, hands down." Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

Johnson used to go back to school during the off season. Johnson was able to take courses that would have been staged in person thanks to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Through Johnson's career, the longest run in the playoffs has not been the norm. Before this season, Johnson had only made the playoffs six times in his career.

He was an unrestricted free agent when he was invited to training camp by Colorado. He signed a minimum, one-year, $750,000 contract after making the team. In the regular season, Johnson scored one goal and had nine points.

Colorado began its playoffs without Johnson. He didn't play in the first round of the playoffs. Johnson got the nod and has been in the lineup since.

He is a third-pairing mainstay in the Cup Final.

"It was perfect," Johnson said of the first game. I was pretty calm going into the game, I knew it was another hockey game, and I was going to get excited once I got on the ice. The thing was pretty amazing. There's a lot of work to be done but we're enjoying it.

Hard work doesn't make Johnson scared. He can get through statistics the same way as he can block a shot in a game.

The journeyman needs to always enjoy the ride.

Johnson said it was special to play for the Cup. You never know if you'll get a chance to play. We've worked so hard to get to this point, and now we have an opportunity. You don't know if you'll get back here. I had to wait a long time to get a chance here. We're trying to take advantage of it.