Avalanche Praised for Epic OT Goal in Game 4 Win vs. Lightning

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 23, 2022

TAMPA, FL - JUNE 22: Nazem Kadri #91 and Bowen Byram #4 of the Colorado Avalanche against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Four of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 22, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images)
Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

Welcome back, Nazem Kadri.

The Colorado Avalanche center returned from a thumb injury for the first time since June 4, only to score the dramatic winning goal in overtime of Wednesday's Game 4 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

KADRI. AVS WIN IT IN OT 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/F0Td2o7ZMx">pic.twitter.com/F0Td2o7ZMx</a>

There was some confusion after Kadri beat Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to give his team the 3-2 victory, but it was a good goal. His team is ahead 3-1 in the series and one win away from its first Stanley Cup title since the 2000-01 campaign.

Kadri and the Avalanche naturally earned plenty of praise for the performance:

Julie Stewart-Binks @JSB_TV

Nazem Kadri. Writing a new chapter of his playoff history. Absolutely incredible. Entire arena is stunned. <br><br>Avs are one win away from the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StanleyCup</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Avalanche?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Avalanche</a>

Mike Golic Jr @mikegolicjr

Colorado was a force in that OT. just overwhelming.

Mike Golic Jr @mikegolicjr

holy hell what a sequence by Colorado.

Mike Mazzeo @MazzNYC

Avs will be worthy champs. Dominant OT

Matt Schubert @MattDSchubert

Darcy Kuemper is keeping the Avs in this right now. Incredible bounce back from Game 3 and the early goal.

The center was the hero, but it was far from a solo effort. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper was largely brilliant while stopping 37 of 39 shots in an impressive bounce-back performance after he was pulled in the Game 3 loss.

It didn't look like Kuemper was going to star when he allowed a goal to Anthony Cirelli 36 seconds into Wednesday's contest, but he was the best player on the ice for the Avalanche for the rest of the opening period as Tampa Bay outshot the visitors 17-4.

ESPN @espn

Darcy Kuemper has been sharp early 💪 <a href="https://t.co/VXGrgB79a0">pic.twitter.com/VXGrgB79a0</a>

Liam McHugh @liam_mchugh

This is as sharp as Kuemper has looked in quite a while

Jesse Granger @JesseGranger_

This is why you stick with your No. 1 goalie. <br><br>Kuemper has been excellent holding Colorado in this game early.

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

The Avs get one to sneak past Vasy 😮‍💨<br><br>All tied up in the second period <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StanleyCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/X6psZgjBRv">pic.twitter.com/X6psZgjBRv</a>

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

The Avs tie the game up 🚨👀 <a href="https://t.co/W9m6HcaQWn">pic.twitter.com/W9m6HcaQWn</a>

Surviving the initial onslaught proved key because Nathan MacKinnon's second-period goal tied it up, as did Andrew Cogliano's third-period goal after Victor Hedman temporarily put the Lightning ahead with a backhand goal.

With Kadri back in the rotation and scoring monumental goals to MacKinnon and Cale Makar working their usual magic to Kuemper playing like a top-notch goaltender, the momentum is firmly on the Avalanche's side again.

They will look to close out the series at home in Friday's Game 5.