TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning’s three-peat bid is in deep trouble.
Nazem Kadri scored at 12:02 of overtime and the Colorado Avalanche took a 3-1 series lead by beating the Lightning 3-2 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night.
Tampa Bay faces a daunting task to become the first team since the New York Islanders won four championships in a row from 1980-83 to lift the Cup three straight seasons. Teams down 3-1 in the final have rebounded to win it all just once in 36 tries.
The Lightning could not have asked for a better start when Anthony Cirelli scored from the slot on the rebound 36 seconds into the game. But Tampa Bay could not build on its early advantage despite outshooting the Avalanche 17-4 in the first period.
After Nathan MacKinnon tied it with his first goal during the final during a power play at 5:17 of the second, Victor Hedman regained the momentum for the Lightning after making several moves bringing the puck into the offense zone to elude the Avalanche defenders and scored with a long-range backhander from the right faceoff dot with 9:18 left in the second.
Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper, who was pulled midway through second after allowing five goals on 22 shots in Tampa Bay’s 6-2 win in Game 3, robbed Ross Colton from in-close with a second left in the second. The stop proved pivotal when Colorado’s Andrew Cogliano got the equalizer at 2:53 of the third.
Colorado took control in overtime, getting 11 of the 14 shots, and hitting both the post and crossbar.
Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who finished with 35 saves, stopped Logan O’Connor on a breakaway.
Tampa Bay had its franchise playoff-record eight-games winning streak at home end. The Lightning outscored opponents 33-13 over those eight wins.
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Mark Didtler, The Associated Press