TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay Coach John Cooper answered one question during the post-game press conference. Without going into detail about whether there were too many men on the Colorado ice, he suggested that the Avalanche’s overtime goal should not have counted.
“This one will sting a lot more than the others,” Cooper said Wednesday night after a 3-2 loss in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. “It’s hard for me. It’s going to be hard for me to talk. I have to talk. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. You’ll understand what I mean when you see the winning goal. And my heart breaks for the players because we probably still have to play .I will be available tomorrow.
“And just watch this team, what they’ve been through and what battles are going on. And we are all in this together. Players, coaches, referees, everyone. I was part of the heartbreaking losses and defeats of the teams that beat us and was with a group that just fights and fights and fights and they made it to their third straight Stanley Cup Final.”
Kadri’s goal at 12:02 of overtime was scored and the Avalanche took a 3–1 series lead, putting the Lightning’s three-peat bid in serious trouble.
The NHL released a statement saying the penalty is a decision that can be made by on-ice officials. Each of the four judges said they didn’t see too many people on the ice in the winning game. The call is not subject to video playback.
Tampa Bay has been trying to be the first team since the New York Islanders won four championships in a row from 1980 to 1983 and won the Cup three seasons in a row. Teams that lost 3-1 in the final only managed to win once out of 36 attempts.
Tampa Bay had a franchise-record streak of eight playoff wins at home. The Lightning outscored rivals 33–13 in those eight wins.
Game 5 will take place Friday night in Colorado.
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Lightning 3-Pete in trouble after loss in Game 4 to Colorado originally appeared on NBCSports.com