The Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning were tied at 2-2, having traded goals during regulation. At the 12:02 mark of the first overtime, Nazem Kadri fired a shot that appeared to beat Tampa goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, only nobody seemed too sure. None of the Avalanche players closest to the net, including Kadri, seemed to think the goal was scored at first. Then defenseman Bowen Byram skated in to argue that a goal had been scored. That triggered a reaction from his teammates on the ice.
The play was reviewed and eventually, Kadri’s shot was correctly ruled as the game-winning goal.
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) June 23, 2022
What a photo.
No one knew the game-winning goal went in because it got stuck between the net and the padding 😳 pic.twitter.com/zub8ANCoIm
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 23, 2022
Those watching the game on had a big reaction to its thrilling ending.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) June 23, 2022
In the overtime it felt as though #GoBolts just completely ran out of gas.
— Bolts By The Bay (@BoltsByTheBay) June 23, 2022
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) June 23, 2022
Nazem Kadri. Writing a new chapter of his playoff history. Absolutely incredible. Entire arena is stunned.
— Julie Stewart-Binks (@JSB_TV) June 23, 2022
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been the best team in hockey for a long time, but they just ran into the buzzsaw that is this Colorado Avalanche team.
— Mike J. Asti (@MikeAsti11) June 23, 2022
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) June 23, 2022
Avalanche are just better. Lightning need Colorado goalie to be subpar, and Kuemper did give up a softy, but he was good otherwise. Championship caliber win by Avs.
— steve conroy (@conroyherald) June 23, 2022
So poetic that it’s Kadri.
Friday night is GOING TO BE LIT!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/oCDBPGcWiL
— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) June 23, 2022
YESSSSSSSS! @Avalanche ! another comeback, another OT winner. Welcome back Nazem Kadri.. Strong 💪🏼Bounce back by Kuemper.. On the #StanleyCup BRINK! I would LOVE to be in Denver Friday but duty calls in SW London. #GoAvsGo
— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) June 23, 2022
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) June 23, 2022
The most relevant tweet came from the prize that Colorado is now one game away from claiming.
I’ll be in the building on Friday.
— The Stanley Cup (@StanleyCup) June 23, 2022
There’s some good news for Tampa. Despite the 3-1 deficit, this has been a tightly-contested series. Both the Avalanche and Lightning have a lopsided win but Colorado’s other two victories were both in overtime. So, Tampa isn’t that far from being tied 2-2 or even up 3-1. There’s also decent news in that, in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a 3-1 deficit has been overcome 31 times. Obviously the odds are not in the Lightning’s favor, but there’s a decent amount of history to draw from.
The bad news is that almost none of that history is in the Stanley Cup Finals. Only one time has a team overcome a 3-1 deficit to win the Stanley Cup Finals. That came in 1942, when the Toronto Maple Leafs overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Detroit Red Wings. Since then, series in which a team has led 3-1 have only even reached a Game 7 five times.
There’s some precedent for Tampa, but the Lightning will have to overcome a serious uphill battle to win their third straight Stanley Cup.