One win to go.
Nazem Kadri scored the overtime winner to lift the Colorado Avalanche over the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in Game 4 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night at Amalie Arena. Colorado leads the best-of-seven series 3-1 with the chance to clinch the Stanley Cup on home ice as Game 5 is scheduled for Friday night back in Denver.
Nazem Kadri scored the overtime winner in his first game back in the lineup since Game 3 of the Western Conference Final after suffering an upper-body injury and undergoing surgery. Nathan MacKinnon scored on the power play, while Andrew Cogliano also found the back of the net for the Avalanche in regulation. Darcy Kuemper made 37 saves on 39 shots in the victory.
For Tampa Bay, Anthony Cirelli and Victor Hedman scored in regulation. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 34 saves on 37 shots in regulation.
KADRI RETURNS AND SCORES OVERTIME WINNER:
The Avalanche went coast-to-coast on the overtime winner. Kuemper made a save – and earned the first-ever goalie assist on an OT winner in the Stanley Cup Final in NHL history – and then Artturi Lehkonen took the puck up the ice and fed Kadri. The centerman, who skated into the low slot and pulled the puck from his backhand to forehand and released a low wrist shot. The shot squeaked past Vasilevskiy’s elbow and crossed the goal line at 12:02 to seal the Game 4 victory for the Avalanche.
Colorado outshot Tampa 10-3 in overtime.
In his return, Kadri skated alongside Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin. Kadri logged 18:31 minutes, fired off two shots and threw one hit.
Despite facing a smothering style of play and defensive dominance from the Lightning, the Avalanche stayed patient and trusted their belief in the process to stay the course and ultimately arise victorious.
The Lightning skated out to a fast start as they executed the first strike just 36 seconds into the game and dominated the first period with a 17-4 shots advantage.
Just after puck drop and gaining possession, the Bolts charged into the Avs’ defensive zone and cycled the puck. An Erik Cernak shot from atop the right faceoff circle was smothered by Kuemper, but on the play his mask fell off. As the netfront scramble ensued, Cirelli buried the loose puck over Kuemper’s stick to give Tampa a 1-0 lead.
The Lightning didn’t allow the Avalanche to record a second shot on net through 11 minutes of play.
The Avalanche got on the board early in the second period with their sixth power-play goal of the series. Hedman was sent to the box 3:57 into the frame for interference on Nico Sturm. On Colorado’s man advantage, MacKinnon zipped a cross-slot pass to Mikko Rantanen where the Finnish winger put a shot on net. Vasilevskiy kicked out the save with his toe, but MacKinnon crashed the net and the rebound redirected off his skate and into the Lightning goal for the 1-1 equalizer at 5:17.
The Lightning regained the lead at 10:42 on an end-to-end individual effort by Hedman. The Swedish defenseman – and runner-up in the Norris Trophy to Colorado’s Cale Makar – skated from his own blueline into Colorado’s zone. Hedman dangled past Colorado’s skaters and from the inside of the right faceoff circle, floated a backhanded shot to the far side and over Kuemper’s blocker to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead.
Early in the third period, the Avalanche equalized the score up 2-2 with a goal from Sturm. Colorado executed d-to-d passing and Josh Manson slung a wrist shot on net. Sturm tipped the puck and while Vasilevskiy made the initial stop, the German centerman chipped the rebound up and it deflected off Cogliano and past Vasilevskiy into the net at 2:53 into the period and on the goal that would force overtime.
Kuemper made 37 saves on 39 shots in the overtime victory.
Kuemper came up with a huge glove save at a pivotal point in the third period when the score was tied 2-2 as he denied a Ryan McDonagh point shot with 8:24 remaining in regulation.
Tweet from @NHLGIFs: KADRI WINS GAME 4 IN OT! THE @Avalanche ARE UP 3-1 IN THE #StanleyCup FINAL! pic.twitter.com/t4UzJhl4Vh
- Kadri scored his seventh goal of the postseason and his second game winner.
- MacKinnon scored his 12th goal of the playoffs and sixth goal on the power play.
- Cogliano buried his third goal of the postseason, which matches his own career best.
- Kuemper earned an assist on Kadri’s overtime winner.
- Colorado recorded its ninth comeback win of the postseason, the second most in a single postseason in NHL history behind the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins.
- Colorado finished the game 1-for-2 on the power play (has scored six PPG’s in the series) and is 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
- Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Andre Burakovsky, Ryan Murray, Kurtis MacDermid, Justus Annunen and Samuel Girard (upper body) were scratches for Colorado.
The 2022 Stanley Cup Final between Colorado and the Lightning returns to Denver with Game 5 scheduled on Friday night at Ball Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m. MT.