Stanley Cup Playoff Day 52: Nazem Kadri scores OT winner in return as Colorado Avalanche push Tampa Bay Lightning to the brink

It was an important game for the Colorado Avalanche because after having full control of the series in the first two games, they didn’t want to be tied going home when the Tampa Bay Lightning had it all. momentum. Luckily for them, Nazem Kadri was back in the lineup, and he proved vital for the Avs, scoring the OT winner in a 3-2 Game 4 win.

The action got off to a quick start, with the Lightning immediately pressing in the offensive zone, with Darcy Kuemper making some spectacular early saves. But, Erik Cernak got the puck on net, and Anthony Cirelli was there to bury the rebound and give the Bolts a 1-0 lead.

Kuemper’s mask fell off during play, but as explained here, it’s a legal goal.

The Lightning led the rest of the period on the shot clock by a total of 17-4, but when it came to shot attempts, they were much closer at just 21-19 at even strength. That said, they were much better on odds, with 1.23 expected 5-on-5 in the first, compared to Colorado’s 0.48.

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The Avalanche started getting those shots on net in the second period, and it paid off on the power play. Gabriel Landeskog has made a habit of scoring those dirty goals in net in this series, and he’s getting another one here.

But five minutes later, Tampa Bay responded again, this time with a fine goal from Victor Hedman, skating across the ice, swinging around Valeri Nichushkin and Jack Johnson, and burying a backhand shot from Kuemper, and the Lightning took a 2-1 lead.

The Lightning thought they suffered a big loss later in the period, as Cirelli suffered a nasty skate cut to teammate Alex Killorn’s arm and had to leave the locker room. He ended up coming back for the third period, but didn’t take a faceoff.

Even though Cirelli returned, the bad luck continued for the Bolts in the top of the third. The Avs scored early in the period as Nico Sturm pounced on a rebound from Darren Helm’s shot and deflected past Andrew Cogliano to tie the game at 2-2.

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This ended up being the last regulation goal, and we needed overtime to decide on this one. Colorado was all over the Lightning in the first half of overtime and nearly ended it with that chance, but Bowen Byram hit the crossbar.

Luckily for the Avs, who didn’t come back to bite them, as Nazem Kadri took advantage of a tired Lightning squad, flew into the area while receiving a stretching pass from Artturi Lehkonen and covered a front Andrei Vasilevskiy to win the game for the Av. With shades of Patrick Kane in 2010, officials weren’t quite sure if the puck went in early, but after finding the puck in the back of the net, it went confirmed: the Avalanche won the game 3-2, and now have a 3-1 series lead, with a chance to win the Cup in Colorado on Friday.

After people debated whether or not he should start Game 4, Kuemper had a statement play. He remained calm and composed when the Lightning pressed, and in total stopped 38 of 40 shots to help the Avs in the win, and even assisted the overtime winner.

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