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After missing more than two weeks with an injury, Nazem Kadri lifted the Colorado Avalanche to a crucial match 4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-2, bringing the team one step closer to a Stanley Cup title.
Kadri somehow got his shot under Lightning goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy’s arm. The puck then got stuck inside the top of the net, leading to a delayed signal that the goal had actually been scored. Avalanche players pointed out that the puck was sitting at the top of the net and the goal was completed.
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“It was a huge win,” Kadri told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan after the win. “We stuck to it. A robust effort. Able to get it done in OT. “
Kadri said he was not entirely sure the goal went in.
“Not really. I mean, I was just trying to make a little move there and go far from the side, and I assume that was where it went. I don’t know if it found a hole,” he said. “It was a bit of a delayed reaction. I thought he (Vasilevskiy) had saved a second. The next thing you know, people started asking against me. It’s a good feeling.”
Kadri had missed 18 days after suffering an injury in the Western Conference final against the Edmonton Oilers, but came up big when Colorado needed him most.
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“I’ve been waiting for this my whole life. So I thought I would stop waiting and try to attend the parties. I’m just grateful I’m able to be in this position. With this group of guys I could not I have not written a better story, “he said.
Anthony Cirelli scored for Tampa Bay starting early in the first period. He scored 36 seconds inside the match in what was a controversial goal because Avalanche goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper’s helmet got rid of the puck in front of him.
NHL rules state: “When a goalkeeper has lost his helmet and / or face mask and his team has control of the puck, play must be stopped immediately to allow the goalkeeper to regain his helmet and / or face mark. When the opponent’s team has control over the puck, the game must only be stopped if there is no immediate and imminent scoring opportunity.This stop of the game must be made by the referee.Why the game is stopped because the goalkeeper has lost his helmet and / or face mask, the subsequent face-off must take place on one of the defending team’s end zone face-off spots. “
Colorado did not challenge the result and Lightning took an early 1-0 lead and held it into the second period.
But 5:17 inside the second, Avalanche equalized the match with Nathan MacKinnon’s 12th goal in the post-season. It came on a power play. Norris Trophy winner Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen each picked up their 20th assist on the score.
About 5 minutes later, Victor Hedman somehow got a shaky puck past Kuemper and brought the lightning back to 2-1 in the third period.
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Andrew Cogliano’s third goal of the postseason was the 2:53 equalizer inside the third period. And just like that, Game 4 was bound and as much nail-biting as Game 1 was.
In overtime, Vasilevskiy and Kuemper were ready for the task. Colorado rookie Logan O’Connor broke free and got a good chance to score, but it was Vasilevskiy who stoned him with less than 15 minutes left of overtime.
With about 11:15 left, Vasilevskiy shut down several of Colorado’s attacks. Bo Byram hit the post on one of his shots, and then Vasilevskiy stopped the ensuing one-off attempt. Kuemper would then follow up by hitting a Brandon Hagel shot down.
But then Kadri’s shot ended the match.
Vasilevskiy finished with 35 saves, and Kuemper finished with 38 saves and had an assist on Kadri’s goal.
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Game 5 is set for Friday night back in Denver at. 20.00 ET. If Colorado wins, they will be Stanley Cup champions.