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Colorado one win from Stanley Cup crown

by Fred Goodall AP Sports Writer | June 23, 2022 at 2:26 a.m.
Colorado players celebrate Wednesday after Nazem Kadri scored in overtime to give the Avalanche a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. Colorado holds a 3-1 series lead and can win the Stanley Cup with a victory Friday night. (AP/Phelan Ebenhack)


TAMPA, Fla. -- Nazem Kadri scored at 12:02 of overtime and the Colorado Avalanche beat Tampa Bay 3-2 on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final to move within a victory of dethroning the two-time defending champion Lightning.

Playing for the first time since June 4 due to a thumb injury, Kadri skated in on Andrei Vasilevskiy and slipped a shot under the goaltender'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 being injured during Game 3 of the Western Conference final against Edmonton.

"I've been waiting for this my whole life," the Colorado center added. "I figured it was time to join the party."

The Avalanche outshot the Lightning 11-3 in the extra period. Vasilevskiy stopped Logan O'Connor on a breakaway, and Colorado had a shot clang off the post and another hit the crossbar before Kadri ended it.

Game 5 is Friday night in Denver, where Colorado won the first two games of the series and are 7-2 this postseason.

Anthony Cirelli scored 36 seconds into the game and Victor Hedman also scored in regulation for the Lightning. They took a 2-1 lead into the third period.

Nathan MacKinnon scored on a second-period power play for Colorado, and Andrew Cogliano tied it early in the third.

Darcy Kuemper, pulled from Game 3 after giving up five goals in a 6-2 loss, stopped 37 shots and had an assist of the winning goal for the Avalanche.

Vasilevskiy finished with 35 saves. He has rebounded from allowing 11 goals in Games 1 and 2 to limit the high-scoring Avalanche to five the past two games.

The Lightning are trying to become the first team to win at least three consecutive Stanley Cup titles since the New York Islanders won four in a row from 1980-83. The Avalanche last hoisted the Cup in 2001.

The Lightning have rebounded from playing poorly in Games 1 and 2 to make it interesting by neutralizing Colorado's speed, limiting the Avalanche's scoring opportunities and turning up the pressure on Kuemper, who was barely tested when he faced just 16 shots in a 7-0 blowout 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 outshooting the Avalanche 17-4 in the opening period. Two of Colorado's shots came while skating short-handed, killing off 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 pulled even again when Cogliano, assisted by Nico Sturm and Darren Helm, scored on a deflection less than three minutes into the third.


At a glance

WEDNESDAY’S GAME

Colorado 3, Tampa Bay 2, OT

Colorado leads series 3-1.

FRIDAY’S GAME

All times Central

Tampa Bay at Colorado, 7 p.m.


  photo  Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri shoots the puck past Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) for a goal during overtime of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
 
 
  photo  The Colorado Avalanche celebrate the overtime goal of center Nazem Kadri in Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan Ebenhack)
 
 
  photo  Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (91) shoots the puck past Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) for a goal during overtime of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
 
 
  photo  Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) checks Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) during overtime of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan Ebenhack)
 
 
  photo  Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) gloves a shot by Colorado Avalanche right wing Logan O'Connor (25) during overtime of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan Ebenhack)
 
 
  photo  Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Nicholas Paul (20) controls the puck next to Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) during the third period of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan Ebenhack)
 
 
  photo  Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) reaches for the puck as Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) defends during the third period of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
 
 
  photo  Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) is checked by Colorado Avalanche right wing Logan O'Connor during the third period of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
 
 


Print Headline: Colorado one win from Cup crown

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