The Colorado Avalanche took a 3-1 lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup on Wednesday night, with a 3-2 victory in overtime, capping off a comeback on Tampa’s home ice. Nazem Kadri delivered a clutch – and miraculous – goal that gave the Avalanche a two-game cushion on the Lightning in the series.

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper thinks that goal was undeserved, however. In his post-game presser, Cooper implied that the winning goal should have never happened. “It’s going to be hard for me to speak. I’m going to have to speak,” he said. “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.”

Cooper said that the Avalanche had too many men on the ice as Kadri scored the game-winning goal, and the video shows that they did indeed have six players on the ice as Kadri took his game-winning shot. An infraction caused by too many men on the ice is not reviewable following the goal, and it is up to one of the four in-game officials to make a decision on whether or not the penalty has occurred.

The confusion in this instance lies in whether or not Nathan MacKinnon was close enough to the bench to be considered “off the ice.” League rules state that skaters have to be within five feet of the bench and out of play before substitutions can be made. The post-game scoresheet also listed six players on the ice when the Avalanche scored the goal, however, it was edited later to show only five skaters, as defenseman Erik Johnson was listed in error due to the emptying of the bench during the celebration.

The league released a statement following Cooper’s comments saying, “A too many men on the ice penalty is a judgment call that any can make of the four on-ice officials. Following the game, Hockey Operations met with the four officials as is their normal protocol. In discussing the winning goal, each of the four officials advised that they did not see too many men on the ice situation on the play.”

The Lighting are now one loss away from relinquishing the Stanley Cup trophy and failing to accomplish a three-peat as champions.

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