We have a bit of a series here, don’t we? The Tampa Bay Lightning woke up at home and beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 in Game 3. Now they are looking to level the score in Game 4 on Wednesday night.
The Lightning reacted quickly to a 1-0 loss. Anthony Cirelli as well as Ondrej Palat scored 1:51 and then Nicholas Paul scored his fifth play-off goal at the start of the second period in a 3–1 lead. Four goals in the second period chased Darcy Kemper and helped Tampa Bay avoid a 3-0 deficit. What can we expect tonight?
Let’s see what to watch before Game 4 tonight at the AMALIE Arena in Tampa Bay.
What to Look for in Game 4 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals
• The same composition is expected for Lightning.: Status quo for Tampa Bay tonight, according to John Cooper. The head coach of the Lightning said that he expects to go on the ice in the same composition. This would mean Briden Point went out and Nikita Kucherov is in the game after an apparent lower body injury towards the end of game 3.
“I’m not saying they’re fine. They will play,” Cooper said. “Everything is on edge this time of year.”
As for Point, despite missing Game 3, there’s still a chance he’ll return later in the series.
Said Point’s Cooper, “I’m not ruling out he’s on the show, but he’s out today.”
• French or Kemper?: After the Tampa Bay shutdown in Game 2, the Lightning hooked five on Kemper during Monday night’s loss. This led to speculation that Jared Bednar might make changes to Pavel Francouzwho played the last 29 minutes of the third game.
Bednar was humble after Wednesday morning’s skiing, saying he “maybe” sticks with Kemper.
“He followed good performances with even better ones and he improved his game when we needed it,” Bednar said.
Kemper has a .922 shooting percentage and two wins since losing to the Avalanche this playoff.
[Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]
• Not Burakovsky, but maybe Kadri: Andre Burakovsky remains in Denver and did not travel with his teammates to Tampa Bay. He skates at home but won’t play in Game 4. Nazem Kadriwho is recovering from thumb surgery, was a full member this morning and skates daily, raising curiosity as to when he will make his Stanley Cup Finals debut.
“He has been skating, his legs feel good,” Bednar said. “Just coping with the pain he was dealing with.”
Nicolas Aube-Kubel left after the skate to be with likely Game 4 scratches, a possible sign that Kadri is ready.
• Series tie or Colorado lead: According to the NHL, a blitz win in Game 4 would make them the 17th team in NHL history to tie two playoff series after running into a multi-game deficit in each. They could also become the 14th team to play 2-2 in the Cup Final after losing their first two games.
However, the Avalanche’s victory means they become the sixth team to beat the defending champions in a 3-1 Cup Finals series – the last to do so was the 1999-00 New Jersey Devils.
COLORADO EVALANCE vs. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (Call leads 2-1)
Game 1 – Avalanche 4, Lightning 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Avalanche 7, Lightning 0
Game 3 – Lightning 6, Avalanche 2
Game 4 – June 22: Avalanche at Lightning 8pm ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 5 – June 24: Lightning in an Avalanche, 8 pm ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 6 – June 26: Avalanche at Lightning 8pm ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 7 – June 28: Lightning in an Avalanche, 8 pm ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)