Stanley Cup Final: Kadri OT winner leads Avs over Lightning for 3-1 lead

June 23 (UPI) — Center Nazem Kadri scored 12:02 into overtime to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a narrow win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. The Avalanche are one win from the NHL title.

Fellow forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Andrew Cogliano also scored in the comeback victory Wednesday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. The Avalanche will host the Lightning in Game 5 on Friday in Denver.

“It was certainly a team effort on the goal,” Kadri told reporters. “It feels nice to get it done.”

Center Anthony Cirelli and defenseman Victor Hedman scored for the Lightning. Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper totaled 37 saves. Star net minder Andrei Vasilevskiy logged 34 stops for the Lightning.

Cirelli drew first blood when he beat Kuemper just 36 seconds into the game. The Lightning carried that narrow edge into the second. MacKinnon then beat Vasilevskiy for a game-tying score off a power play 5:17 into the bridge period.

Hedman beat Kuemper for a second time about five minutes later. The Lightning stayed on top for the rest of the second. The Avalanche’s fourth line was responsible for the game-tying score just 2:53 into the third.

Forward Darren Helm received the puck between the blue line and the Lightning’s right circle to spark that score. He then ripped a shot toward the net.

Center Nico Sturm deflected the puck off Vasilevskiy and got the rebound, but his next attempt deflected off Cogliano and found the net.

The Lightning nearly scored the go-ahead goal with about 11:30 remaining, but star winger Nikita Kucherov hit the cross bar with a rocket shot.

Kadri then played the hero 12:02 into the bonus period. Kuemper picked up the puck in the Avalanche’s left circle and found winger Artturi Lehkonen with a quick pass at the blue line to start that play.

Lehkonen then turned and flicked his wrist to find Kadri with a pass as he skated between three defenders.

The star forward weaved toward the right post and put the puck on his backhand as he roped a wrist shot just inside Vasilevskiy’s right arm and into the top of the net.

“A lot of times you are part of some heartbreaking losses and defeats,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “I’ve been with a group that just fights and fights. They’ve fought their way to a third Stanley Cup Final in a row. … To watch this team and what they’ve gone through and the battling that’s gone on. We are all in this together. … This one is going to sting much more than others.”

The Avalanche will host the Lightning in Game 5 at 8 p.m. EDT Friday at Ball Arena. The game will air on ABC. Game 6 of the best-of-seven series, will be Sunday, if the Lightning win Game 5.

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