2022 Stanley Cup Final – Best moments, scenes and breakdown from Colorado Avalanche-Tampa Bay Lightning Game 4

The Tampa Bay Lightning looked set to tie the game in the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals against the Colorado Avalanche, but the Avs had other plans.

Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead less than a minute into the first period, as Anthony Cirelli netted one after another shot knocked Darcy Kuemper’s helmet off. The Avalanche recovered, however, with Nathan MacKinnon breaking a 32-shot scoreless streak with his first goal of the Finals in the second period. The Lightning wasted no time, however, with Victor Hedman giving them another one-goal lead five minutes later.

Colorado continued to attack and managed to even things up again in the third thanks to a deflection from Andrew Cogliano. This led to a thrilling end to extra time, with Nazem Kadri finally breaking through Andrei Vasilevskiy’s defenses on a counterattack goal.

The Avalanche are now one win away from a title, and that’s good news for them historically – every team that took a 3-1 lead over a defending Stanley Cup champion ended up with its own championship. Here are all the images and sounds of game 4.

Final Game 4 Takeaways

Colorado again went for the quick finish in overtime.

Three of the 15 post-regulation periods in these playoffs have ended in 90 seconds or less. Andre Burakovsky ended things in a hurry for Colorado in the 4-3 OT finish in Game 1.

Valeri Nichuskhkin came dangerously close with his quick attempt on Andrei Vasilevkiy, but couldn’t get enough air under the puck to beat Tampa Bay’s impressive defensive coverage.

Logan O’Connor had the next great chance to score on a breakaway, but didn’t get a good shot on Vasilevskiy. The keeper easily stopped his attempt.

Bowen Byram hit the crossbar. Devon Toews hit the post. Vasilevskiy stopped a slap shot from Josh Manson.

It was fitting for Nazem Kadri to finish with an overtime winner to give the Avalanche a 3-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals.-Kristen Shilton

Avs takes game 4

Nazem Kadri is the hero of extra time, scoring the winning goal at 12 minutes. It was Kadri’s first time playing since suffering a broken thumb on June 4. A very grateful fan? Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson.

Third period takeaways

The referees apparently put their whistles away.

It happened in the third period as Colorado and Tampa Bay battled for the game-winning goal.

However, the players on both sides didn’t look happy. There were calls to officials for calls that could have been huge shifters.

No such decision came from the referees.

Either way, it was a regulation-appropriate finish. It was the most contested game of the series. Tampa Bay looked dominant early on and the Avalanche were all over the place in the third. Darcy Kuemper and Andrei Vasilevskiy were fantastic.

He sets up a big finish in overtime. Who breaks first? -Kristen Shilton

Back and forth

It might just be the closest game of the Stanley Cup Finals, as the Avalanche tie the game again with a Nico Sturm goal.

Avalanche second period takeaways

Nathan MacKinnon entered the chat.

It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Colorado’s star center had been bitten by a snake to start the Stanley Cup Finals, failing to score a goal in the first three games. MacKinnon pledged not to be frustrated (a trait of his in past crises) and to keep shooting until he found an opening.

His powerplay goal wasn’t exactly pretty, nor did it require a real shot. But he tied the score in game 4 at 1-1.

It was MacKinnon who actually passed the puck to Mikko Rantanen, and Rantanen sent it back to the net where the puck bounced off his skate and past Andrei Vasilevskiy.

They don’t ask how. They ask how much.

Nobody needed a goal like MacKinnon, though. As the Tampa Bay stars stepped up, it hurt Colorado to see their outstanding performer with just two assists in three outings.

A lingering problem, though? Colorado hasn’t had an even-strength goal since the series switched to Tampa; all three have come this far with the extra man. Not great. -Kristen Shilton

Second-half lightning takeaways

Last night was a strange night for Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar. It was the day before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals and they wore costumes to the NHL Awards Dinner, held at a local Tampa beer hall. Hedman dressed up just to watch Makar win the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman. It was the sixth time Hedman had been nominated for the award. He only won it once.

So there was probably a question of satisfaction for Hedman in the second period when he scored the kind of goal that Norris trophies are made of: hanging through the neutral zone, then the Avalanche defense, before floating a shot in front of Darcy Kuemper’s blocking side for a 2-1 lead at 10:42 of the period. Was a big part of that goal defending Jack Johnson and a whiff of Kuemper? Certainly it was. But it was still a wonderful gesture and a monumental goal by Hedman. We’re checking NHL regulations to see if Makar should legally hand over the Norris to him now.

The other big performance of the second period was goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. He allowed a power-play goal on a puck that bounced off Nathan MacKinnon’s skate — the Avalanche’s sixth power-play goal of the series — but he was otherwise a vintage Big Cat with 15 saves in during the period. If the Lightning didn’t block them, he saved them.

The period did not end well for the Bolts, however. Anthony Cirelli, their key defensive center against the MacKinnon line, came off the ice clutching his arm with just over a minute to go. Definitely something to watch for the third.
–Greg Wyshynski

Tampa takes the lead

Victor Hedman gives the Lightning their first goal of the second period and a 2-1 lead. It’s Hedman’s third goal in the playoffs and his first since May 10.

All tied up

The Avalanche fought back minutes into the second period, MacKinnon sending a rebound home for his first goal of the series after 32 attempts, the most of any player on either team.

Points to remember from the Avalanche’s first period

Colorado couldn’t have seen that starting to come.

It would take Tampa Bay just 36 seconds to go 1-0 over the Avalanche on an incredibly smooth streak.

The Lightning had some good offensive zone pressure early on when Erik Cernak fired a shot on Darcy Kuemper that knocked the goalie mask off. Kuemper then couldn’t cross to stop Anthony Cirelli Anthony Cirelli’s play that put Tampa Bay on the board.

Normally when a goalkeeper’s mask falls off there is an immediate whistle but, in this case, because there was a scoring chance in progress, play was allowed to continue.

Kuemper was in for a pretty tough Game 4 before that. He got the go-ahead to start after being pulled midway through Game 3 for allowing five goals on 22 shots. He didn’t need a weird goal to lose his confidence even more. Kuemper bounced back nicely (no pun intended) as the Avalanche floundered past him, trailing 10-1 in the first 13 minutes.

In fact, Kuemper was about the only thing holding Colorado together for those first 20 minutes. This is a dangerous position for the Avalanche. He made a great glove save on Steven Stamkos and then was snappy on Tampa Bay’s late power play opportunity.

The Avalanche ended the period down 17-4.

Yeah. -Kristen Shilton

Takeaways from Lightning in the first half

The Lightning are 7-1 when they have a lead after the first period of the playoffs, which is another way of saying this is a team that knows how to play with a lead. They blocked 13 shots past Vasilevskiy and modified a few others. They obstructed the neutral zone and did not allow the Avalanche to develop their speed game. The Lightning got substantial zone time with their forecheck, especially with their fourth line earning the only power play of the game.

That said, it’s still just a 1-0 lead for the Lightning after the first, despite that power play opportunity and 17 shots on goal. There were a few wasted chances there and Kuemper was able to regain his footing after a shaky start. –Greg Wyshynski

Do not waste time

It looks like the Lightning are done with their disastrous Game 2, as it took them less than a minute to score the first goal of the game. Also a scary moment for Kuemper, as the goalkeeper took a stick to the neck which knocked his helmet off.

The smallest biggest fan

Butterfly Pavilion, a zoo in Westminster, Colorado, and its resident beetle wished the Avalanche well ahead of Game 4.

Look the part, be the part

Both teams were all set to enter the arena for Game 4.

Return of the ring(s)

Mascots deserve their championship rings just as much as anyone else, which is why it’s heartening to see the Lightning mascot get back two he lost.

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