TRAIKOS: Kadri is OT Hero, Avalanche Leads Series 3-1 in Stanley Cup Finals

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TAMPA, Florida. Depending on the severity of the injury, it may take at least six weeks for a broken bone to fully heal.

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Nazem Qadri managed to halve the recovery time.

The Colorado Avalanche forward, who needed thumb surgery on June 4, made a miraculous return to the ice ahead of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday. Perhaps Kadri is healing quickly. But there is a chance that the thumb has not healed 100%.

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Again, at this time of year, everyone is in shock. “I think it’s just a matter of dealing with the pain he’s dealing with,” Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said.

Avalanche Forward Nazem Kadri (Left) Defends Against The Lightning'S Ondrej Palat (Right) In The Third Period Of Game 4 Of The Stanley Cup Finals At Amalie Arena In Tampa, Florida On Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri (left) defends against the Lightning’s Ondrej Palat (right) in the third period of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. Photo by Mike Carlson /Getty Images

Knowing Qadri, who had six goals and 14 points before being hit from behind in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the pain of missing another Stanley Cup Final was probably worse than what his thumb could feel. But his earlier-than-expected return also spoke to Colorado’s level of desperation on the show, which threatened to slip through their battered fingers.

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This is no longer the case after a 3-2 overtime win, when Kadri put on a show by beating defender Mikhail Sergachev and beating goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy with a superb goal at 12:02 in overtime.

It was what Lavina hoped for. And this separated them from the championship in one victory. The fifth game will take place on Friday in Colorado.

Kadri, who rode on the flank in the same line with Gabriel Landeskog and Valery Nichushkin, did not play a role for most of the game. His best chance came in the first period when he landed a wrist shot that clipped Andrei Vasilevsky’s gloved hand. But for the most part, his shots lacked purpose.

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But he saved the best for last.

It was a game of fat goals and good rebounds. One goal knocked down the goalkeeper’s mask. The other got off the skate. Another one from the knees. In the playoffs, this is what you get. Not every game will be a breakthrough. Playoffs are a mess. And, in the end, this is the one who can grind the most.

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Right now it looks like Colorado, although it didn’t look like that at first.

The game had just begun when Anthony Cirelli of Tampa Bay gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead 36 seconds into the opening puck. This was a somewhat controversial goal. As several Colorado players waited for the whistle after a spot shot knocked Darcy Kemper’s mask off the goaltender’s head, Cirelli lashed out at the lost puck in his second Stanley Cup Final.

From there, Tampa Bay continued to attack.

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In the first period alone, the Lightning had 17 shots, one more than in the entire 7-0 loss in Game 2. But much more impressive was the Tampa Bay defense. By filling the neutral zone and blocking countless shots, they set up a defensive clinic against the high-flying Avalanche, yielding little in the process.

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This is how you win the championship. How do you win championships in a row. It can’t always be just skill and goals scored. When you get this far, you should also be able to choke the team to death.

In Games 1 and 2, Colorado’s pace was too fast for Tampa Bay. Since then, Avalanche seems to be moving in slow motion. Or through 200 feet of dirt.

It seems that they can not find a place on the ice. When they do, there will be a bunch of sticks and bodies in the way. As a result, Colorado had to resort to goals that wouldn’t make it into any of the highlight clips.

With Tampa Bay leading 1-0, the Avalanche tied powerplay in the second period when Nathan McKinnon scored his first goal in the Stanley Cup Finals with a shot off the back of his skates.

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About five minutes later, Tampa Bay regained the lead when defender Victor Hedman, who seemed to want to shoot the puck at every opportunity, darted past a pair of off-guard defenders and then beat Kemper with a backhand that he was supposed to stop. .

Give Colorado credit. They won’t leave, they won’t leave. Trailing by one, the Avalanche equalized early in the third period due to another rebound. This time, it was Nico Sturm who redirected a spot shot into the net, then rebounded and landed a shot that appeared to land on Andrew Colliano’s knee.

That was until overtime, though not for lack of chances.

Colorado did pick up the pace late in the game, with Vasilevskiy stopping Logan O’Connor on a breakaway in overtime, and Arturi Lehkonen and Bowen Byram hitting goals from the post.

Eventually, Colorado broke through. And they couldn’t pick a bigger hero.

mrtraikos@postmedia.com

twitter.com/Michael_Trykos

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