Quick hitters from the Avalanche’s Game 4 OT win, 3-2, at Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.
Avalanche second-line center Nazem Kadri made his Stanley Cup Final debut in Game 4 after missing the past 18 days with a thumb injury. He scored the game-winning overtime goal and finished with 18-plus minutes of total ice time. Kadri spoke with ESPN hockey reporter Emily Kaplan during the first intermission. “It felt pretty good,” Kadri said on the TV broadcast. “The ice is kind of garbage. But other than that, I think it felt nice to be back out there.” Are slushy conditions a result of Tampa Bay heat outside of Amalie Arena? Or maybe clever Lightning gamesmanship to slow down Colorado’s team speed?
The Lightning played six consecutive home games without giving up an even-strength goal this postseason. That all changed early in the third period of Game 4 with Andrew Cogliano being in the right place at the right time. He battled for net-front position just as teammate Nico Sturm lifted a shot. The puck bounced off Cogliano’s leg and it snuck past Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy for the game-tying goal in regulation. Cogliano touts the most playoff experience of any Avalanche player on the roster with 114 career postseason games. He’s been excellent for Colorado since returning from hand surgery earlier this month.
The Lightning took a 1-0 lead just 36 seconds into the night when a shot from Erik Cernak knocked off goalie Darcy Kuemper’s mask and Anthony Cirelli cleaned up the puck rebound. But why did play continue with Kuemper physically vulnerable in the net? NHL rule 9.6 under equipment states that when “the opposing team has control of the puck, play shall only be stopped if there is no immediate and impending scoring opportunity” when a goalie loses his mask. Cirelli took advantage with a quick response to Kuemper’s equipment malfunction. Kuemper settled in to make 37 of 39 saves.
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