Too Many Men - Lightning On Brink Following 3-2 OT Loss in Game 4


(Photo via twitter/TBLightning)


By Michael Wax


2022 Playoffs: The Tampa Bay Lightning fell in controversy to the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in overtime of game four of the Stanley Cup Final. Tampa now trails the series 3-1.

Game Summary


1st Period


Despite some question marks about the health of forwards Nikita Kucherov and Nick Paul, Coach Cooper confirmed that both were ready to play in game four. Additionally, Brayden Point would also be out for a second consecutive game, though not ruled out for the entire series.


A fast start was needed for the Bolts in game four, and Anthony Cirelli quickly put the Lightning on the board. Chaos in front of the Colorado net led to the puck squeaking to Erik Cernak. His slap shot broke the mask of Darcy Kuemper, and the rebound was right there for the taking for Cirelli, who scored in his second consecutive game to give Tampa a 1-0 lead just 36 seconds in.




The Lightning throughly dominated play in the first, outshooting Colorado 17-4 and not allowing any high-danger chances for the Avalanche. With only one goal though, an opportunity felt like it was lost to take a big lead and put this game away for good.

2nd Period

The Lightning should've expected the high-powered Avalanche to push back, but the general feel of play saw the Bolts on their heals to start the period. Victor Hedman took an extremely needless interference penalty against Colorado's fourth line, and the Lightning paid dearly for it on the PK. With quick passing by the Avs, Gabe Landeskog once again was on the doorstep to cash in on a rebound and tie the game at one.


Hedman's penalty must've led to a change in heart for the big Swede, because he proceeded to dominate the rest of the period. Hedman was defensively sound and offensively active, and the Avs gave him plenty of room to skate off a turnover. Hedman went through all three zones and fired a backhander from the right circle, one that squeaked through Kuemper and gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead.


3rd Period

To say the Lightning's pace of play for the rest of the game was gross would be an understatement. With 20 minutes left in regulation and a 2-1 lead, they crawled into a shell and didn't push the play forward at all. Less than three minutes in, the Avs fourth line ate the Lightning's 3rd line and 2nd pair alive. Ryan McDonagh, whose game left a lot to be desire, completely lost Nico Sturm crashing the goal. Sturm took the rebound, put in off Andrew Cogliano's leg, and tied the game at 2.


OT


Before the eventually OT winner and controversy, the Lightning were getting outshot, outchanced, and frankly dominanted. It didn't feel as if any line was generating chances, and members of the fourth line saw way too much ice time in the extra frame.


With almost eight minutes to play, and with a dead-tired 3rd line out there, Brandon Hagel flipped the puck out for a change. Kuemper, ever aware, got the puck to Artturi Lehkonen, who in turn found Nazem Kadri charging the blue line. Kadri easily got by McDonagh, fought off the lazy stick work of Sergachev, and buried it by Vasilevskiy. Despite initial confusion, and the refs not knowing where the puck was, the goal stood.


Also despite the Avs having 6 players on the ice:


Regardless, the Lightning now have a steep hill to climb: winning three in a row, against the league's best team, two of which would be on the road at high altitude.


Game Stats




Our Three Stars

1. Kadri (COL): Game-winning goal

2. Kuemper (COL): 37 Saves on 39 Shots

3. Vasilevskiy (TBL): 34 Saves on 37 Shots


Media's Three Stars

1. Kadri (COL): Game-winning goal

2. Hedman (TBL): 1 Goal

3. Cirelli (TBL): 1 Goal


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