Controversy strikes as Avs pull within one win of first Stanley Cup in 21 years
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Thursday, June 23, 2022
Final Score: 3-2
TAMPA BAY–Now of course, it wouldn’t exactly be a Stanley Cup Final without a little bit of controversy. But for game four in Tampa, we were treated to a two-for-one special during Colorado’s 3-2 overtime win over the Bolts.
Following Tampa’s game three thrashing over Colorado, it seemed as if this series could go either way with both teams boasting offensive powerhouses. But similar to game three, it was Tampa yet again who would open the scoring with Anthony Cirelli scoring in the opening 36 seconds of the game.
Cue controversy #1.
During the offensive push, a point shot clipped Darcy Kuemper’s mask, taking it right off. Many watching, myself included, let out a bit of a wince as the following scene was a hockey play in front of the net with a goaltender whose face was completely exposed. The play wasn’t blown dead though, and Cirelli pounced on the loose puck to give the Bolts the 1-0 lead. Kemper could be seen pleading his case, but the goal stood as the play shall only be blown dead in the wake of no scoring opportunity for the opposition.
Nathan MacKinnon would grab his 12th of the playoffs on the powerplay just five minutes into the second period, before Victor Hedman - maybe a little salty from being overlooked for his second Norris trophy in favour of Colorado’s Cale Makar - potted his third of the postseason to give Tampa a 2-1 lead.
The lead would remain until early in the third thanks to Andrew Cogliano knotting things up at two apiece, with no decider occurring, taking the contest to overtime.
Cute controversy #2.
Just over 10 minutes into the extra frame, Nazem Kadri - back in the lineup for the Avs following his injury in the Western Conference Finals - reminded everyone of his presence picking up the puck, slicing his way through the defense, and roofing it past Vasilevskiy to give Colorado the 3-2 overtime win, and with it, put the Avs just one win away from their first Stanley Cup in 21 years.
The only issue? Postgame replay showed Kadri coming on for a change significantly before Nathan Mackinnon had come off with the puck going in the net just prior to Mackinnon officially stepping off the ice.
The play was not made reviewable allowing the goal to stand.
In his postgame availability an emotional Jon Cooper kept it brief. Tampa’s head bench boss stated simply “I'm gonna have to speak tomorrow… You’re gonna see what I mean when you see the winning goal. My heart breaks for the players because we probably should still be playing”.
The series now heads back to Denver with a chance for Colorado to seal the deal, and be the team that stopped a three-peat dynasty in front of their home crowd. Game five goes Friday night with puck drop at 8PM ET.
:36 - TB Anthony Cirelli (3) 1-0
5:17 - COL Nathan MacKinnon PPG (12) 1-1
10:42 - TB Victor Hedman (3) 2-1
2:53 - COL Andrew Cogliano (3) 2-2
12:02 - COL Nazem Kadri (7) 3-2