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Nazem Kadri’s OT goal puts Avs on brink of Stanley Cup title

Jun 22, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Corey Perry (10) and defenseman Devon Toews (7) battle for the puck in front of goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) during the second period in game four of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Nazem Kadri scored the winning goal to give the visiting Colorado Avalanche a 3-2 overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday and put them one victory away from the Stanley Cup title.

Nathan MacKinnon and Andrew Cogliano also scored for the Avalanche, who lead the best-of-seven championship round 3-1 and will try to clinch the crown in Game 5 on Friday in Denver.

Colorado goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 37 saves, 16 of them in the first period, and assisted on the game-winning goal.

The Avalanche dominated overtime and were rewarded when Kadri converted at 12:02. Kadri, back in the lineup after missing the past four games following thumb surgery, lifted a shot from in close for his first-ever playoff overtime goal.

Teams that hold a 3-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final have gone on to win the series 35 of 36 times. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs escaped a 3-0 hole in the finals to beat the Detroit Red Wings.

Antony Cirelli and Victor Hedman scored for the Lightning, while goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 35 shots in the back-and-forth affair.

Cirelli opened the scoring just 36 seconds into the clash. Erik Cernak’s shot hit Kuemper in the mask, and Cirelli pounced on the rebound for his third goal of the playoffs.

MacKinnon’s power-play goal tied the score 5:17 into the second period. Mikko Rantanen’s shot was stopped, but the puck ricocheted off MacKinnon’s skate and into the net for his 12th goal of the playoffs but first of the series.

Hedman restored the Lightning’s lead just past the midway point of the second period when he finished a coast-to-coast rush with a perfectly placed long backhand shot for his third goal of the playoffs.

Cogliano tied the score again three minutes into the third period when Nico Sturm’s shot ricocheted off his leg and into the goal for his third goal of the playoffs.

The Lightning may have sustained a key injury when Cernak left the game early in the second period after blocking a shot. He tried skating during a television timeout later in the period but quickly returned to the dressing room. He sat on the bench without taking a shift the rest of the game.

–Field Level Media