That is the reason.
Because when you set the router to forward port x to port y it is actually also doing a port translation. Your ssh traffic into external_address:x is changed by the router to internal_address:y.
port forwarding is always concerned with inbound connections, so you are connecting an external port to an internal device and port.
Yes, it is quite likely that the the rule change is not actioned until the service restarts, which of course happens at reboot.
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