The Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning meet in a pivotal Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night at Amalie Arena. Stick here for live updates leading up to and during the game. Refresh to see our latest analysis.
Second TV timeout (6:41 p.m.): Avs still down 1-0 and not much has changed. They can’t get the puck on Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. Most of the play has been in Tampa Bay’s end, but the defense in front of Vasy is strong. Shots are 9-1 TB was based on possession time it could be about even. — Mike Chambers
First TV timeout (6:30 p.m.): Avs trail 1-0 and being outshot 6-1. But after Tampa Bay scored on its first shift, 36 seconds in, Colorado dominated and much of the play was in the Lightning’s end. Problem was, the Avs didn’t get any good looks. — Mike Chambers
Helmet-less and hung out to dry (6:21 p.m.): Well, this could’ve started a little better.In a wicked flurry of shots, and some impressive saves from Avs goalie Darcy Kuemper, the Lightning were able to get on the board in the game’s first minute after Anthony Cirelli scored off a rebound in the front of the crease.Kuemper absolutely scrapped during the sequence, even after he get his helmet taken off by an errant Lightning stick (Where have we seen that before?), but the pressure was simply too much. Lightning 1, Avalanche 0 — Matt Schubert
Nazem Kadri returns to Avalanche lineup for Game 4 against Tampa Bay
Avalanche center Nazem Kadri was a late addition to the lineup for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final here Wednesday evening.
Kadri participated in his first morning skate with the team since June 4 and also took the pregame warmup. He is recovering from sustaining a broken right thumb in Game 3 against Edmonton in the Western Conference finals. — Mike Chambers
Game 4 predictions
Mark Kiszla, sports columnist. Prior to the Stanley Cup Final, I predicted the Avs to win series in seven. Gonna stand by that. But that being said, must confess: In each of three games played so far, I’ve been dead wrong three times. So for the benefit of Colorado fans, let me say: Lightning 3, Avs 2.
Sean Keeler, sports columnist: Avalanche 4, Lightning 3. Darcy or Frankie? Doesn’t matter. The Avs’ defensive rotations, and adjustments on the fly, are the critical pieces here, and we saw on Monday night what happens when those fall apart. The number to keep in mind: 30 opponent shots on goal. The Avs are 9-0 this postseason, and 2-0 in the Final, when the opposition gets off 29 shots or fewer at whoever’s between the pipes. Get yourself a stranglehold on the defensive end of the ice, and you’ll get a grip on this series again.
Mike Chambers, Avs beat writer: Avalanche 4, Lightning 2. Colorado will win by staying out of the box. Tampa Bay had six power plays in Game 3 — the kiss of death for the defending team because the Lightning’s power play is a sleeping giant and it takes away from creating offense. Yet, Colorado produced 39 shots. If they had trimmed the Lightning to three power plays on Monday, the Avs would have had more shots for Vasy to have to fend off. So stay out of the box, limit those big Lightning scoring chances in Game 3 and Colorado goes up 3-1 in this series with a chance to hoist the Cup in Denver on Friday night. With or without Nazem Kadri contributing, I have the Avs coming out on top.
Ryan O’Halloran, sports reporter: Avalanche 4, Lightning 2. I’m 0 for 3 picking games in this series and got zero gut feeling for this one, but I’ll go with an Avs team that hasn’t lost consecutive games this postseason.
Kadri in the building (5:37 p.m.). Nazem Kadri arrived here at Amalie Arena on the Avs’ first bus — the one carrying the guys who will do warmups and likely be in the lineup, plus coaches. The second bus has scratched players and support staff. TSN’s Chris Johnston was among those who saw Kadri arrive with the regulars. Kadri later emerged from the locker room for warmups, and possibly return from a four-game injury absence (surgically repaired broken thumb). If Kadri is in the lineup, I expect him to return to centering the second line with Artturi Lehkonen and Mikko Rantanen. Kadri likely won’t take faceoffs. But I didn’t expect Andrew Cogliano to throw punches with both hands in Game 3 on Monday. He had hand/wrist surgery a couple days after Kadri went under the knife on June 6. — Mike Chambers
Different coaches, different styles (5:15 p.m.). The Avs’ Jared Bednar and Lightning’s Jon Cooper are polar opposites in how they do (Cooper) and don’t (Bednar) talk about their lineups. This morning, Cooper said he didn’t expect any lineup changes from Monday night, meaning winger Nikita Kucherov is in and Cooper then ruled out center Brayden Point. An hour later, it was Bednar’s turn. He wouldn’t commit to a starting goalie, which for some reason got some laughs from the assembled media who must not like information and would only say center Nazem Kadri is progressing. — Ryan O’Halloran
Dressed for success (5:14 p.m.): Suits. Always suits. — Matt Schubert
Nazem Kadri participates in Avalanche morning skate, could return for Game 4
Avalanche center Nazem Kadri on Wednesday participated in his first morning skate with the team since June 4. He is recovering from sustaining a broken right thumb in Game 3 against Edmonton in the Western Conference finals.
Kadri could potentially return from a four-game absence and play in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night. — Mike Chambers
Read more from Mike Chambers.
Avalanche’s Cale Makar showered with praise after winning Norris Trophy. “He is just unbelievable”
Understandably, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar didn’t devote much time to discussing individual awards while preparing for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday morning at Amalie Arena.
Only two victories from hoisting the Cup, it’s all about the team.
Make no mistake, Bednar is proud of Cale Makar, who became Colorado’s first Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s best defenseman on Tuesday night. But the coach only offered this about Makar winning the prestigious award: “For me, he’s having a spectacular season. Well deserving of that.” — Mike Chambers
Read more from Mike Chambers.
Stanley Cup Finals, Game 4: Must reads
Kiszla: Avs need Nathan MacKinnon to lead with Stanley Cup Final hanging in balance.
On the ice, Nathan MacKinnon could always fly. But like Peter Pan, he refused to grow up. A hockey genius when admired from a safe distance. But up close and personal, the enfant terrible of the Colorado locker room could be extremely hard to live with.
“He’s still hard on himself and others. I think that’s part of what makes him so good,” veteran Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson said Tuesday.
Like many wizards, MacKinnon can display zero tolerance for the human fallacies and failings of the muggles around him. Truth be known, his impatience can make MacKinnon a royal pain in the butt. — Mark Kiszla
Read more from Mark Kiszla.
Breakdowns that plagued Avalanche in Game 3 must be corrected to avoid seeing series tied
If defending well is a total team effort — 12 forwards, six defensemen and one goalie all working as one — so is defending poorly.
The Avalanche’s 7-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final was a masterclass; the Lightning had only 16 shots on goal.
But the Avalanche’s 6-2 loss in Monday’s Game 3 was the complete opposite. — Ryan O’Halloran
Read more from Ryan O’Halloran.
Game 4 debate: Who should Avalanche coach Jared Bednar start in goal — and who will he start?
After benching Darcy Kuemper midway through Game 3’s blowout loss, who should Avalanche coach Jared Bednar turn to between the pipes in Game 4: Kuemper or Pavel Francouz? Read more from The Post’s sports staff.
More Stanley Cup Final coverage
- Stanley Cup Final, Game 4: Five things to watch when Avalanche faces Lightning
- Avalanche’s Cale Makar wins Norris Trophy as NHL’s best defenseman
- Avs’ Devon Toews on Nikita Kucherov injury: “I’m not trying to hurt anyone out here”
- Keeler: Pointing fingers at Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews hit shows Jon Cooper, Lightning aren’t just Stanley Cup champs. They’re gold-medal hypocrites.
- Kiszla: Avs coach Jared Bednar wishy-washy on starting goalie after 6-2 blowout loss
- Avalanche center Nazem Kadri’s return “definite possibility” in the next two games
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