Killer: Nathan McKinnon, Andrew Cogliano, Avalanche made their own “luck” against Tampa Bay in Game 4. No matter what the Lightning fans say.


Luck had nothing to do with Nathan McKinnon get yourself enough space park like a Rolls-Royce on the side of Andrei Vasilevsky’s stick, the Achilles heel of our deified Tampa Bay goaltender.


Luck was on the coffee break when Andrew Cogliano, 177 pounds of pure spunk, 5ft 10in and 6ft 5in pluck, refused to budge despite the Avalanche forward having Lightning defenseman Ian Rutta – all 6 – 2,211 pounds of it – thrown over the entire back.


Luck took a turn when Aws goaltender Darcy Kemper caught Tampa Bay coach John Cooper in an ill-timed line change at around 12:00 p.m. in overtime. And when Nazem Qadri’s boat was rushed by two Lightning defenders who stood between him and the goal of the winner of the game a few seconds later.

“(A) great one-on-one game, right?” Colorado Coach Jared Bednar told reporters when asked about “Amen” at Amalia Arena. Kemper-to-Arturi Lehkonen-to-Kadri, A hitting overtime sequence that took the Avs home to Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals with a 3-1 series lead.

“Trying to play fast, Lehkonen does early work to open up, open up on the weak side of the ice, Kemper hits him with that… you can create something.”


Luck is the backbone of the loser. It’s the whiner’s recriminations, the gasping alibi of submission, the last crooked finger pointed at by arrogance before it falls face first onto the canvas. On Wednesday, the Aws scored three goals in mud masquerading as Tampa’s ice. None of them were, to put it mildly, ordinary.

McKinnon opened the scoring for the away side with a second-period powerplay goal when Mikko Rantanen’s cross-ice serve seemed to graze his left skate as he pirouetted into the crease while dancing on the side of Vasilevsky’s stick.

What loyal Lightnings won’t tell you is that Rantanen’s pass was great; and two if McKinnon did not have scored the cookie, teammate Gabe Landeskog, camped on the left post just behind the number 29, probably would have done it himself anyway.

The same can be said for the goal that equalized 2-all 2:53 in the third stanza, the end result of Colliano refusing to submit against a 34-pound Lightning guard. And the tendency of Avalanche forward Nico Sturm — like Cogliano, another one of those unsung fourth line heroes — to refuse to bounce down after Big Vasey failed to drive Darren Helm’s frozen rope.

But to call Avs lucky rather than good? For finding a way to beat the two-time defending champions on home ice? For failing on the cusp of their first cup title in a generation?

This vanity speaks. This is the audacity of a gravity-defying king as he slides off his throne and falls down the mountainside, scattering excuses like pebbles, a cloud of dissent as he descends.


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