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A Controversial Game 4 in the Stanley Cup Finals
By: Braydon Chen
After Nazem Kadri scored a goal from a nice feed by Darcy Kuemper, the Colorado Avalanche’s goaltender, who sensed the Lightning were tired and pushed the puck up the ice to Kadri. The Avalanche were now up 3-1 in the 7-game Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The game was tied, so it was overtime when the goal was scored. At first, the entire attendance gathered at Amalie Arena, the Lightning’s home arena. remained quiet, as the puck seemed to just vanish. Then, the officials called it a goal and the entire arena erupted with cheers. The Avalanche were one step closer to winning the Stanley Cup.
After the puck was found in the netting, it proved that even though the Lightning had the confidence and persistence of a two-time reigning champion, the Colorado Avalanche was clearly the better team between the two. The Lightning had to recover from the loss and win the next game and the one after that, for even a chance that they could win a third cup, three times in a row.
The Avalanche used their speed and skill to dominate every round of the playoffs this year, including games against the Nashville Predators, the St. Louis Blues, and the Edmonton Oilers, two out of three being clean sweeps. This pattern hasn’t changed; their pace and skill overwhelm the Lightning. When it was clear the Avalanche had taken game 4, the benches began emptying, and the Lightning skated off the ice. The next game would be held in Denver, where the Avalanche would have a chance to win the cup at home ice. “Obviously, they’re probably preaching,‘They’ve never been here; they’re going to be tight,’ and that’s fair, '' said Nathan Mackinnon, Avalanche’s star center. “But we’ll be ready to go. We’ve been great under pressure all playoffs, all season.”
What Colorado has done isn’t easy either. For the Lightning to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals again, they had to push past two of the most dominant scorers in the NHL league in 2022. The Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Florida Panthers. In addition, they also had to win a seven-game series against the New York Rangers, who began the playoff series with a 2-0 lead after the first two games.
When Lightning’s coach Jon Cooper came to his post-game interview, he looked down, as if he could use a hug. “This one is going to sting much more than others,” said Cooper. “You’re going to see what I mean when you see the winning goal.” Cooper complained that when the Avalanche scored the winning goal, they had too many men on ice because Nathan Mackinnon took too long getting off the ice. Despite this, Cooper admitted that during last year’s playoffs, the Lightning was excused from the same occurrence. Cooper thought it all evened out.