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The Colorado Avalanche are just one win away from becoming Stanley Cup champions but Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper does not believe that Nazem Kadri’s overtime goal should have counted after six Avs players appeared to be on the ice at the time the game-winner was scored.
Cooper, who is looking to lead the Lightning to three consecutive titles, struggled to speak with reporters following Wednesday night’s loss.
“This one is going to sting much more than others,” Cooper said of the 3-2 loss. “It’s hard for me. It’s going to be hard for me to speak. I’m going to have to speak. I’ll speak with you tomorrow. You’re going to see what I mean when you see the winning goal. And my heart breaks for the players because we probably still should be playing. I’ll be available tomorrow.”
Kadri returned to the bench after being sidelined with a broken thumb June 4. After scoring 12:02 into overtime, a wider look appeared to show Nathan MacKinnon still on the ice – seemingly not clearing for the bench in time.
The NHL released a statement saying the penalty is a judgment call that can be made by the on-ice officials, and each of the four officials said they did not see too many men on the ice during the winning play. The call is not subject to video review.
“I’m not quite sure what he was thinking, why it shouldn’t have counted,” Kadri said of Cooper’s remarks. “The puck hit the back of the net, end of story.”
Tampa Bay will look to keep their hopes of a third consecutive title alive when they visit Colorado for Game 5 on Friday night.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.