Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri did not miss his return to the game last night, giving his team the victory in overtime in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Lightning in Tampa.
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In doing so, the Lightning, two-time defending champions of the competition, find themselves back to the wall with a 3-1 deficit in this best-of-seven series. For Kadri, who suffered a hand injury in the previous series, there was no better scenario.
“I felt pretty good, everyone is dealing with different injuries at this point in the year, so I thought I was going to endure and contribute to my team’s efforts,” he explained afterwards. victory (see his press briefing in the main video).
Admitting to having been through a ‘roller coaster of emotions’ since his injury, Kadri admitted that ‘sitting here is a bit surreal right now’.
“It’s a brave performance,” commented his coach Jared Bednar. He was out of the game, put in a lot of effort to be able to come back. But to come back and play to the fullest of his ability like he did, that’s not easy to do. (…) It shows how dedicated our guys are.”
His winning goal, scored on a breakaway after eight minutes of play in overtime, was confirmed in bizarre circumstances when many believed that Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy had managed to make the save when the puck was rather stuck at the top of the net.
A streak that began with a long pass from Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper.
“We had been in their zone for a bit and they looked tired, so I just tried to get the attack going quickly to get ahead of them,” Kuemper said. “Lekhy” (Artturi Lehkonen) was able to pass the puck to “Naz” (Kadri) who made a big play to finish the match.
“I was trying to go on the far side, I knew I could take a good shot and I would have a chance,” Kadri continued. I thought I had scored at the start, but Vasilevskiy misled me, I thought he might have it under his arm. He was sitting in his semicircle, I thought he had it.”
“There were a few seconds of confusion, then I saw everyone jumping onto the rink and that’s when I knew it was confirmed,” he added. It was a great team effort and I’m glad it’s settled.”
As for Lightning coach Jon Cooper’s criticism of the goal’s validity that the Avalanche had too many men on the ice at the time, Kadri said he didn’t understand what he was talking about. remembering that “the puck is in the net, end of story”.