Stanley Cup Final Game 4 live blog: Avalanche vs. Lightning

Welcome to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Avalanche leads the best-of-7 series 2-1. senior editorial director Shawn P. Roarke is in Amalie Arena in Tampa to provide all the sights, sounds and action from Game 4.

8:25 pm ET

It’s a dream start for the Lightning as they score 36 seconds into the game. Anthony Cirelli scored into an open net on a rebound after Colorado goalie Darcy Kuemper made four saves and lost his helmet in the process.

Cirelli also scored Tampa Bay’s first goal in Game 3. His goal in Game 4 marks the first time that the Lightning have scored first in the four games of this series.

8:20 pm ET

The game is 36 seconds old, and the Lightning are already on the board, taking a 1-0 lead on a goal by Anthony Cirelli.

Nazem Kadri is in and playing second-line center with Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin on his wings.

JT Compher slides down to third-line center, and Nicolas Aube-Kubelwho played 6:36 in Game 3, is scratched.

There was a bit of a wrinkle in the Corey Perry warmup routine for Game 4. The Tampa Bay forward was not the last one off the ice, which is tradition, heading for the dressing room tunnel just before Ondrej Palat. Also, his scoring attempt at the vacated Colorado goal was thwarted when his shot struck another puck and each slid wide of the posts. It wasn’t much of a hockey shot, but Perry may have a future in curling.

As was the case in Game 3, the pregame ceremony was completely over the top. The highlights, as always, were the national anthem rendition sung by Sonya Bryson-Kirksey as well as the live rendition of “Thunder & Lightning” by Vo Williams and the home-ice video essay narrated by WWE star Titus O’Neal.

7:50 pm ET

Warmups for Game 4 are going on.

Nazem Kadri has taken the ice for the Avalanche and looks to make his debut in the Stanley Cup Final after missing the past three games with a hand injury.

Nikita Kucherov is on the ice the for the Lightning, but Brayden Point is absent as expected. Wednesday, Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said Point would be out for Game 4, but he is not ready to rule the forward out for the series.

Darcy Kuemper led the Avalanche out for warmups and remains the starter. There was some speculation that backup Pavel Francouz could get the start after coming in during Game 3. Kuemper allowed five goals on 22 shots.

Shoutout to DJ Shannon for an eclectic set of music to lead the crowd into warmups. There was no Clutch (boo), but a good mix of arena rock and hip hop and a bit of EDM.

7 pm ET

We’re a little more than an hour away from the start of Game 4, which is pivotal for each team.

If Colorado wins, it will have an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup on home ice in Game 5 at Ball Arena on Friday. If Tampa Bay can find a way to win, it has all the momentum after losing the first two games.

The Avalanche could get some help with forward Nazem Kadri possibly returning after missing the past four games after sustaining a hand injury on his first shift of Game 3 against the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Final on June 4.

Kadri has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 13 games in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He scored 87 points (28 goals, 59 assists) in 71 regular-season games.

For the Lightning, forward Nikita Kucherov is expected to play after leaving with an injury in the third period of Game 3. Forward Brayden Point, however, is likely to miss his second straight game.

It’s a perfect night for hockey in Tampa; although it is a bit warmer and more humid that this native New Englander would like. The fans, spilling out onto the sidewalk at the legendary Hattricks Bar nearby and packing the watch party outside the arena, are buoyed by their team’s showing in Game 3, which suggests another series comeback, like the one they made in the Eastern Conference Final, could be in the offing.

The Lightning fell behind the New York Rangers 2-0 in the series and 2-0 in Game 3 but prevailed in six games.

We’ll be back for warmups in a bit.

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