Avalanche’s Nazem Kadri, in return, scores the Game 4 win after injury, Colorado one win away from the title

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Avalanche's Nazem Kadri, in return, scores the Game 4 win after injury, Colorado one win away from the title

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Nazem Kadri, who was absent for more than two weeks through injury, led the Colorado Avalanche to an important 3-2 Game 4 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning and brought the team one step closer to a Stanley Cup title.

Kadri somehow got his shot under the arm of Lightning goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy. The puck then got stuck at the top of the net, resulting in a delayed signal that the goal was actually scored. Avalanche players pointed out that the puck was stuck in the top of the net and the goal was complete.

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Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri shoots the puck in the top of the goal past Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) for a goal during overtime in Game 4 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri shoots the puck in the top of the goal past Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) for a goal during overtime in Game 4 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

“That was a huge win,” Kadri told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan after the win. “We stayed with it. Resilient use. Able to get it done in the OT.”

Kadri said he wasn’t entirely sure if the goal went in.

“Not really. I mean I tried just making a little movement there and going to the other side and I assume that’s where it went. I don’t know if it found a hole,” he said. “It was a little belated reaction. I thought he (Vasilevskiy) had saved for a second. Next, people rushed at me. It’s a good feeling.”

Kadri missed 18 days after suffering an injury in the Western Conference Finals against the Edmonton Oilers but made it big when Colorado needed him most.

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“I’ve waited my whole life for this. So I figured I’d stop waiting and try to join the parties. I’m just grateful to be in this position. With this group of guys, I couldn’t have written a better story,” he said.

Anthony Cirelli got the goal started for Tampa Bay early in the first period. He scored a controversial goal 36 seconds into the game due to Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper’s helmet coming off with the puck in front of him.

Anthony Cirelli #71 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates a goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period in game four of the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals at the Amalie Arena on June 22, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.

Anthony Cirelli #71 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates a goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period in game four of the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals at the Amalie Arena on June 22, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.
(Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHL Rules state: “If a goaltender loses his helmet and/or face mask and his team is in control of the puck, play must be stopped immediately to allow the goaltender an opportunity to replace his helmet and/or Recover Face Mark. If the opposing team has control of the puck, play shall only be stopped if there is no immediate and imminent scoring opportunity. This interruption of play must be made by the referee. Why play is stopped because the goaltender has lost his helmet and/or face mask, the ensuing faceoff will take place at one of the defending team’s endzone faceoff spots.”

Colorado couldn’t challenge the score and the Lightning took an early 1-0 lead and kept it into the second half.

But 5:17 in the second, the Avalanche tied the game with Nathan MacKinnon’s 12th goal of the postseason. A power play ensued. Norris Trophy winners Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen each had their 20th assist.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, center, is congratulated by teammates after shooting Wednesday, April 22.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, center, is congratulated by teammates after shooting Wednesday, April 22.
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

About 5 minutes later, Victor Hedman somehow got a shaky puck past Kuemper to put the Lightning 2-1 into the third period.

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Andrew Cogliano’s third goal of the postseason equalized 2:53 in the third period. And just like that, Game 4 was captivating and just as exciting as Game 1.

Colorado Avalanche right winger Mikko Rantanen (96), center Nathan MacKinnon (29) and defenseman Cale Makar (8) celebrate after scoring during the second period of Game 4 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, June August 2022 in Tampa, Fla.

Colorado Avalanche right winger Mikko Rantanen (96), center Nathan MacKinnon (29) and defenseman Cale Makar (8) celebrate after scoring during the second period of Game 4 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, June August 2022 in Tampa, Fla.
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

In overtime, Vasilevskiy and Kuemper were ready for the task. Colorado rookie Logan O’Connor broke free and had a good scoring opportunity, but it was Vasilevskiy who blocked him with less than 15 minutes left in overtime.

With about 11:15 left, Vasilevskiy finished off more of Colorado’s offense. Bo Byram hit the post with one of his shots, then Vasilevskiy stopped the following one-time try. Kuemper would then follow by knocking down a Brandon Hagel shot.

But then Kadri’s shot ended the game.

Vasilevskiy finished the game with 35 saves and Kuemper with 38 saves and an assist on Kadri’s goal.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy makes a save on Wednesday, April 22.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy makes a save on Wednesday, April 22.
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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Game 5 is scheduled for Friday night at 8pm ET in Denver. If Colorado wins, they become Stanley Cup champions.

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