Finlay, who was drafted by Columbus in 2012 and became a regular there before being traded to Minnesota during the 2017 season, said he was motivated to beat his former team.
“I wore the colors and the crest for six-and-a-half years, they're the team that drafted me and I'm appreciative of what they've done for me and my family, but I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't want to beat up on them pretty bad,” Finlay said in training during the week ahead of the game.
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After the game, he admitted he was still fuelled by facing familiar faces, but also that he had a job to do alongside his current team.
"I was able to play against one of my best friends in Hector Jimenez tonight, and I just wanted to eat his lunch, seriously," he told reporters. "There was plenty of trash talk between the two of [us] but at the end of the day, you've got to perform. You start to settle down, I started to focus on what I had to do and I thought I made a strong impact on that right side tonight and that was my goal, to not get too caught up in the faces and the colors I was playing against."
Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath was pleased for the 28-year-old Finlay.
"When you work hard, like he is, great professional, I'm a big believer in sometimes you get what you deserve, and that's what he got this evening," Heath said postgame on the Minnesota broadcast.
Minnesota defender Brent Kallman, who set up the goal, noted it sounded like a story.
"I'm sure he's really happy," he told reporters. "Couldn't have written it any better: Former team, off an ACL [tear in 2018], first goal. He works crazy-hard too so he got the reward for it, yeah, really happy for him."
Finlay agreed with the screenplay aspect of his night.
"For it to be a storybook ending to the night, I'm pretty fortunate," he said.