TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Nazem Kadri scored at 12:02 of overtime and the Colorado Avalanche beat Tampa Bay 3-2 on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final to move within a victory of dethroning the two-time defending champion Lightning.
Playing for the first time since June 4 due to a thumb injury, Kadri skated in on Andrei Vasilevskiy and slipped a shot under the goaltender's right arm to give Colorado a 3-1 series lead.
The Avalanche outshot the Lightning 11-3 in the extra period. Vasilevskiy stopped Logan O'Connor on a breakaway, and Colorado had a shot clang off the post and another hit the crossbar before Kadri ended it.
Game 5 is Friday night in Denver, where Colorado won the first two games of the series and are 7-2 this postseason.
Anthony Cirelli scored 36 seconds into the game and Victor Hedman also scored in regulation for the Lightning. They took a 2-1 lead into the third period.
Nathan MacKinnon scored on a second-period power play for Colorado, and Andrew Cogliano tied it early in the third.
Darcy Kuemper, pulled from Game 3 after giving up five goals in a 6-2 loss, stopped 37 shots for the Avalanche.
Vasilevskiy finished with 35 saves. He has rebounded from allowing 11 goals in Games 1 and 2 to limit the high-scoring Avalanche to five the past two games.
The Lightning are trying to become the first team to win at least three straight Stanley Cup titles since the New York Islanders won four in a row from 1980-83. The Avalanche last hoisted the Cup in 2001.
The return of Nazem Kadri
The Colorado Avalanche got a key player back with the return of center Nazem Kadri for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night.
Kadri been out since injuring his thumb when he was boarded by Evander Kane in Game 3 of Colorado’s four-game sweep over the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Final. Kane received a major penalty and was suspended a game.
Kadri had six goals and 14 points in 13 playoff games before the game winner Wednesday night.
As expected, Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov was in the lineup while center Brayden Point was not.
Kucherov departed Game 3 late in the third after getting cross-checked by Colorado’s Devon Toews.
Point played in the first two games of the Final after missing 10 straight due to a right leg injury.
Colorado coach Jared Bednar opted to stick with goalie Darcy Kuemper, who was pulled midway through the second period of Game 3 after allowing five goals Monday night in a 6-2 loss.
Kuemper left in Game 1 of the Edmonton series with an upper-body injury and was replaced by Pavel Francouz, who won all four games against the Oilers to improve to 6-0 overall in this year’s postseason.
Avalanche left wing Andre Burakovsky (hand) missed his second straight game and was skating and getting treatment in Denver on Wednesday. After scoring in overtime to win the series opener, he departed Game 2 after blocking a shot.
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