Tampa– The story can be beautiful. In fact, it should be. Especially for Colorado Avalanche fans.
Having spent 18 days on the sidelines with a left thumb injury after being wrongly kicked from behind in Game 3 of the Western Finals after convincing coach Jared Bednar that he could contribute to his team’s success even if it was obvious. Unable to shoot the ball with strength and accuracy, Nazim Qadri welcomed his return to the match by scoring the winning goal at 12:02 of the first extension period.
Qadri closed the match after his teammates Devon Tooys and Bowen Byram hit the crossbar and a post. After Andrei Vasilevskiy saves 10, including stealing Logan O’Connor and Josh Manson, to keep Lightning in the game even though they were completely outmaneuvered in overtime.
The fact that he is a player with bruises on his thumb and probably an anesthetic to stop the pain, a player unable to shoot with the power and accuracy that defines him and who ends up outperforming the best goalkeeper in the world gives more color to this beautiful story..
Especially as this 3-2 win by Qadri propelled the Colorado Avalanche and their supporters to win the Stanley Cup. An invasion they can celebrate on Friday at the Ball Arena in Denver.
Too many players on the rink
This is where the beautiful story loses its color. At least according to Lightning who find themselves in a precarious situation. Backed up against a wall, the Bolts must sign three straight wins, including two at altitude, in Denver, to turn the tide and find a way to win a third straight championship.
The challenge is enormous. It is almost impossible to beat.
So it was only natural to see head coach John Cooper appear in front of reporters, head down, face grim, and a little frustrated.
Cooper didn’t really listen to the first question. He was distracted. He looked defeated.
After stammering a few words about his team’s strong start to the game in a completely nonchalant manner, the Lightning coach let out a hearty shriek.
He did not scream. this, no! far from it. But in a voice choked with disappointment, John Cooper said: “This defeat hurts me so much. I feel sad for my players because we have to be on the ice right now.”
Without giving further details about what allowed him to go there with such a claim, Cooper indicated he would be staying Thursday, before Lightning left for Denver. Then he got up and left the interview room.
But what was Cooper talking about?
Looking at the replays on the lines that led to the winning goal, we note the possibility that Bowen Byram touched the disc over the limit. But it is not clear.
Further to the sequence, we note the presence of six ice skaters on the ice. Watching the replay several times, it soon becomes clear that Nazim Kadri is jumping on the ice before Nathan McKinnon, who came from for exemption, returns near the bench. When Kadri receives the beautiful pass moved by Artturi Lehkonen in the middle of the ice and branches off to his left to dash into enemy territory, MacKinnon is still not on the bench.
The violation has not been reported. Record my destiny. The avalanche won.
In the first official summary published by the NHL, we note that there are seven members of the avalanche in the section dedicated to players on ice at the time of the goal. We see the numbers of Bowen Byram, Eric Johnson, Valerie Neshushkin, Josh Manson, Arturi Likonen, Nazim Kadri, and goalkeeper Darcy Comber.
No trace of Nathan McKinnon who was nonetheless on the ice.
In a second official summary released about 20 minutes after the first release, the NHL corrected and deleted Jack Johnson’s number.
Actual crime or normal gameplay?
Was John Cooper right to drop such a bombshell in his post-match comments? A bomb that questions not only the avalanche’s victory, but the League’s integrity in enforcing regulations?
In a sense, yes. Because apparently Kadri, when touching the disc, should never have had a chance to get into the net defended by Andrei Vasilevsky because the referees should have stopped and imposed a penalty for the avalanche.
On the other hand, this type of “illegal” change has become commonplace in NHL games. The game is so fast in hockey today that teams regularly find themselves with one player, sometimes two, sometimes three too many on the ice for a second, two, or three.
And let’s not forget that the rules say that a player who is close to the bench – if he is not in the game of course – is not considered much on the rink because he is in the process of returning his teammates to rest.
The problem with Wednesday’s winning goal is that Nazem Kadri plays clearly as the avalanche relies on having six skaters and a goalkeeper on the ice.
When asked about the possibility that his target was not as good as John Cooper claims, Nazim Qadri seemed quite surprised. “I have absolutely no idea what he’s referring to. That goal was good,” the avalanche champion replied after the match.
His head coach Jared Bednar was equally surprised.
“At first, I didn’t see the disc go in. But I saw Nazim play a very good game to cut the net and take a shot that surprised Vasilevsky. Darcy (Kuemper) had a great presence to drive the ball forward as both teams made changes. Artturi (Lehkonen) made a good pass and made Nazim was the kind of play he could do. He was suggesting he’s ready to come back for a few days. I met him, because I wanted to make sure he didn’t just come back, he came back to perform. “He showed it in that match,” Avalanche’s coach said.
Lightning of breath
John Cooper’s complaints, as justified in the eyes of some and unjustified and exaggerated in the eyes of others, will not change the bottom line on Wednesday night.
At best, Cooper and the Lightning will receive an apology from the NHL if the leaders realize there was already one player on the ice too much for the avalanche.
Having said that, when you look at how the extra time came about, Lightning was so controlling, so immersive, and unable to handle the cadence imposed by the avalanche that it seemed clear that Colorado would end up winning.
But good! That doesn’t stop Cooper and his bosses, players, and supporters from believing that a massive attack, granted in overtime, could have allowed Lightning to reverse the value in overtime. To win the match and settle the odds in the final series rather than being a single setback from elimination.
Elimination now appears imminent.
No doubt pretending that the double heroes will give up. But the lightning is clearly late. He appears to be breathing while his opponent appears to be enjoying a second wind which makes the duel a bit uneven.
In addition, it seems that Nikita Kucherov is really weaker due to the injury. He was struggling to ski on Wednesday. It was practically invisible. And on the rare occasions he touched the disc, he tried to make quick passes as if he didn’t want to keep the disc. Tried four shots, only two hit the target.
Brayden Point missed a second game in a row. And if he returns, he will obviously not be at his peak.
Eric Cernak made just 11 appearances on Wednesday night. He was hit in the leg by a powerful slap from Nathan McKinnon, during an intense attack by “Aves”, and did not play the rest of the match.
The author of the first goal of the meeting, a goal he scored from 36e Second in play when Lightning gave the avalanche the kind of start that Colorado usually reserved for opponents, Anthony Cirelli suffered an arm or shoulder injury in addition to suffering the fallout from a dead-end shot.
Captain Stephen Stamkos also suffered twice when he prevented shots from avalanche.
The kind of sacrifices needed to win. So money sacrifices more easily in victory. Sacrifices undermine morale and reduce enthusiasm when the team loses.
Especially in extra time as it has now happened twice in the four matches played since the start of the Grand Final.
Lightning players blocked 34 of the 90 shots fired by the avalanche in three and a half periods on Wednesday. This flawless defensive feat complicated the avalanche of the strikers, who nevertheless managed to recover twice from a one-goal deficit – Nathan McKinnon scored his 12th goal.e Serial During Massive Midterm Attack and Andrew Cogliano (3e) Early in the third half – before Nazim Qadri scored his seventh goal in the qualifiers.
“I was looking forward to joining my teammates, for the big party that is the Stanley Cup Final. I am very happy to have been able to do this tonight,” Kadri said in his testimony, adding that the hardest part was yet to come, as the fourth win in a series of The best seven is always the hardest.
We’ll see if that’s the case on Friday when Avalanche and Lightning meet again at the Ball Arena in Denver. maybe for the last time
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