The Colorado Avalanche won the all-important Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Colorado Avalanche have won Game 4!
Full disclosure: I doubted they would. I thought the second they put Darcy Kuemper in net, we were done for. And definitely when we went down 1-0 so quickly on that flukey goal.
Let’s rant about that for a second. The NHL loves to play lip service to player safety. They’ve even developed an entire oversight committee labeled the NHL Department of Players Safety. As we’ve discussed ad nauseum on this site, that organization is a joke.
Well, the entire concept of safety must be a joke to the NHL. All these concussion protocols, and yet an opposing player is allowed to shoot the puck at a goalie WHOSE MASK HAS COME OFF!
Now, we here in Avs Nation thought the goalie mask coming off was an automatic stoppage of play. Apparently, the loophole is, and I quote, “unless the Tampa Bay Lightning are about to score on the Colorado Avalanche.” That’s really what the rulebook says — look it up.
No, in all seriousness, the loophole is the “scoring opportunity” part. What craziness is that, though? Those pucks at their slowest are going around 70 MPH! And they’re regularly clocked at 90 MPH and up!
If a person took a puck going 90 MPH in the head without the benefit of goalie mask protection, he could very well suffer a broken skull and even death. Ask jai alai players.
But… I digress. Despite that flukey goal, Colorado overally looked sluggish. Maybe it was the residual oxygen hangover I was on about in the previous post. In any case, they really were lucky to go into the first intermission down by only one. The shot differential was… embarrassing.
The two teams traded goals in the second period. So, yay, the Avalanche were able to tie the game. But, boo, the Lightning came up with the go-ahead goal again.
By the way, that second-period goal was scored by Nathan MacKinnon. Let me tell you, just before that goal, I was ragging on him like he was 2015 Tyson Barrie.
By that time, though, the Avalanche had some getup in their go. They were finally playing like a team that had gotten used to all the viscous oxygen stuff. In the third period, they were able to tie the game on a goal by Alex Newhook, er, Nico Sturm, er… Andrew Cogliano? It was hard to see even for Toronto, but Cogliano has landed on the permanent scoresheet.
Sudden. Death. Overtime. I know it’s not PC to call it that anyway. But “sudden victory overtime” doesn’t tell the story of the thousand tiny deaths we fans on both sides go through watching our teams. Not to mention the look of death and defeat on the losing team’s faces.
Well, thank goodness, that look of defeat came over the Tampa Bay players’ faces, not Colorado’s. The hero for this all-important Game 4 was exactly who it should be — Nazem Kadri.
That’s right, our prodigal goon. Always getting suspended in the playoffs (usually with Toronto, but once with us, too). Then he goes and cleans up his act just to suffer a thumb injury in the third round. He missed the first three games of the Stanley Cup Finals after undergoing thumb surgery.
You’re supposed to be out 4-6 weeks after thumb surgery. But those timelines don’t count during the Stanley Cup Finals, especially when you’re someone like Nazem Kadri. There was no way he was going to miss the fun.
He was rusty for a lot of the game. Nothing like a sudden DEATH overtime goal to shake the residual rust off!
The Colorado Avalanche can win it all at home on Friday. The Stanley Cup itself will be in the building. Boy, oh boy, do we all want that trophy to be presented on Friday. But it ain’t over until Phil Pritchard comes onto the ice.