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Stanley Cup controversy as champions teeter – RT Sport News

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper challenged an overtime winner from the Colorado Avalanche

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper has suggested the goal that pushed his team to the brink of defeat in their Stanley Cup Final against the Colorado Avalanche was illegitimate, as the two-time defending champions suffered a 3-2 overtime loss at Florida on Wednesday night. .

Returning Nazem Kadri scored at 12:02 into overtime to give the Avs a 3-1 series lead as they chase a first Stanley Cup since 2001.

But the nature of the result was questioned by Bolts coach Cooper amid suggestions Colorado had six men on the ice before the winning goal.

“This one will sting a lot more than the others”, said the Canadian.

“It will be difficult for me to speak. I will have to speak. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

“You’ll see what I mean when you see the winning goal. And my heart breaks for the players. Because we should probably still play.

Camera angles showed the Avs had six skaters on the ice when Kadri scooped up the pass before scoring past Russian goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, although debate centered on whether Nathan MacKinnon was close enough from the bench to be considered a “retired player”.

Responding to the controversy, the NHL said it was a “Appeal for judgment that can be made by any of the four on-ice officials.”

” After the game, [NHL] Hockey Operations met with the four officials according to their usual protocol. When discussing the game-winning goal, each of the four referees indicated that they hadn’t seen too many men on the ice on play.” says the organization.

Unsurprisingly, Kadri said he saw no problem with his winning goal.

“I’m not entirely sure what he [Cooper] thought why that shouldn’t have counted. This kind of confuses me a bit”, says the center.

“The puck hit the back of the net, end of story, so I don’t know why he would say that.”

Kadri’s goal, which was returning from thumb surgery for its first game in the Finals, pushed the Avs within touching distance of a first Stanley Cup since 2001 and what would be a third title in franchise history. franchise.

Two-time defending champions, the Bolts are aiming to be the first team to win the Stanley Cup since the New York Islanders won four in a row in the early 1980s.

The hosts had taken the lead in unusual circumstances at the Amalie Arena on Wednesday night, scoring after just 36 seconds when Erik Cernak fired a shot that knocked goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper’s mask off.

Kuemper then failed to stop Anthony Cirelli as he put his side in front, with play allowed to continue as it was a scoring chance in progress, rather than facing the usual whistle when a goalkeeper loses his mask.

Avs winger Mikko Rantanen leveled the score at 5:17 of the second period, before Bolts defender Victor Hedman restored his side’s lead just over five minutes later, giving his side a lead 2-1.

Colorado trailed again at 2:53 into the third period when a Nico Sturm shot deflected past Andrew Cogliano and past Vasilevskiy to send the game to an extra frame.

Vasilevskiy finished with 34 saves but couldn’t stop his team from sliding to defeat. In addition to the goaltender, Russian stars Nikita Kucherov and Mikhail Sergachev are also aiming for a third Stanley Cup. Kucherov lined up on Wednesday despite injury issues following a nasty incident in the game.

The Avalanche have a Russian player on their roster in the form of winger Valeri Nichushkin.

Both teams now return to Denver for Game 5 on Friday, for what promises to be a fervent crowd at Ball Arena.