Despite the 2-1 series deficit, the Tampa Bay Lightning appeared to have the momentum heading back to Amalie Arena for Game 4 to fend off a 3-1 Stanley Cup Final advantage by the Colorado Avalanche.
The difference between Colorado’s Monday night loss at Amalie and Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime win proved to be Nazem Kadri’s return to Colorado’s lineup after rehabbing from thumb surgery.
Tampa put in the effort to tie up the series. Thirty-six seconds into the contest, Anthony Cirelli cleaned up a shot attempt to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead.
Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog tied things up in the second period off an assist from Mikko Rantanen during a power play. Victor Hedman put the Lightning up, 2-1, with a backhanded goal at the 10:42 mark in the second.
With Colorado facing a one-goal deficit heading into the third, Nico Sturm stepped to the momentum and scored the tying goal, which kept both teams at bay for the rest of regulation, sending Game 4 into overtime at 2-2.
Coming into the extra period with four overtime wins this postseason, Colorado used the experience to outwork Tampa Bay on offensive opportunities.
Loose defensive transitions by the Lightning late in the game gave the speedy Avs enough opportunities to challenge Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Vasilevskiy made some impact saves in OT, blocking a hot shot from Logan O’Connor. Bowen Byram had two solid looks at Tampa’s goalpost in the added period, the first hitting the crossbar and the second cleanly nabbed by Vas.
Halfway through the extra period, the Avs had outshot the Lightning, 8-3.
Kadri hit the game-winner, 12:02 into overtime, bringing the hard-fought period to an end, helping send the Avalanche back to Denver with a 3-2 overtime win and commanding 3-1 series lead over TB. The Avs host Game 5 on Friday.
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