Tampa, Fla. – The Colorado Avalanche are close to their first Stanley Cup title since 2001 thanks to Nazem Kadri’s goal in overtime.
Even if the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning doesn’t think it should have counted.
Kadri struck at 12:02 of overtime to give Colorado a 3-2 win in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals and propel the Avalanche to a win of their first championship in over two decades.
Without specifically saying that Tampa Bay felt Colorado had too many men on the ice to score the winning goal, Lightning coach Jon Cooper suggested the goal should not have been allowed.
“We’re all in the same boat. Players, coaches, umpires, everyone. But this one will sting a lot more than others,” Cooper said.
“It’s going to be difficult for me to speak. … I will speak to you (Thursday). You’ll see what I mean when you see the winning goal,” Cooper added. “And my heart breaks for the players. Because we should probably still be playing.”
The NHL released a statement saying the penalty is a verdict that officials can administer on the ice. Each of the four officials said they didn’t see too many men on the ice in the sweepstakes. The call is not subject to video verification.
After being sidelined since June 4 with a thumb injury, Kadri returned to the lineup, running at Andrei Vasilevskiy and slamming a shot under the keeper’s right arm to give Colorado a 3-1 series lead.
“That was a huge win. A resilient win,” said Kadri, who had been sidelined since his injury in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against Edmonton.
“This is what I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” the Colorado center added. “I thought it was time to join the party.”
The Avalanche overtook the Lightning 11-3 in overtime. Vasilevskiy stopped Logan O’Connor in a breakaway attempt and Colorado hit the post with one shot and another off the bar before Kadri got the shot.
Game 5 takes place in Denver on Friday night, where Colorado won the first two games of the series and leads this postseason 7-2.
Anthony Cirelli scored 36 seconds into the game and Victor Hedman also scored normally for the blitz. They went into the third period with a 2-1 lead.
Nathan MacKinnon made a power play for Colorado in the second half, and Andrew Cogliano equalized early in the third.
Darcy Kuemper, eliminated from Game 3 after giving up five goals in a 6-2 loss, stopped 37 shots and had an assist on the winning goal for the Avalanche.
Vasilevskiy finished the game with 35 saves. He has rebounded after allowing 11 goals in Games 1 and 2 to limit the high-scoring Avalanche to five in the last two games.
The Lightning are attempting to become the first team to win at least three straight Stanley Cup titles since the New York Islanders won four straight from 1980–83. The Avalanche last hoisted the cup in 2001.
The Lightning rebounded from their poor play in Games 1 and 2 to make it interesting, neutralizing Colorado’s speed, limiting the Avalanche’s scoring chances and increasing the pressure on Kuemper, who was barely tested when he was at a 7-0 blowout only had 16 shots in Game 2.
Cirelli’s goal was the fastest in a Stanley Cup final since 2006, and the Lightning set the tone for another busy night for Kuemper by beating the Avalanche 17-4 in the opening stages. Two of Colorado’s shots came while he was outnumbered, killing Tampa Bay’s first power play of the night.
MacKinnon’s first goal of the series — 12th of the playoffs — erased Colorado’s early deficit at 5:17 of the second period. The Avalanche fired again when Cogliano, assisted by Nico Sturm and Darren Helm, scored in the third minute from a deflection in less than three minutes.
Kadri returned to the lineup after missing four games. He’s been out since injuring his thumb when he was boarded by Evander Kane in Game 3 of Colorado’s win over Edmonton in the Western Conference Finals.
Kane received a severe penalty and was suspended for one game.
Mikko Rantanen and Cale Maker assisted MacKinnon’s goal, giving both 20’s this postseason — a franchise record for a single playoff year. Peter Stastny had 19 with Quebec in 1985.
More AP NHL: and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.
https://www.local10.com/sports/2022/06/23/kadris-ot-goal-lifts-avalanche-over-lightning-3-2-in-game-4/ In return, Kadri scores in OT, Avs moves to the edge of the title