Should Kadri’s OT winner have counted?

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Nazem Kadri’s Stanley Cup Final debut was what dreams are made of, as he scored the overtime winner for the Colorado Avalanche upon returning to the lineup from a thumb injury which required surgery.

Kadri dangled past Mikhail Sergachev and roofed one past Andrei Vasilevskiy, where it took a few seconds for officials to locate the puck. Upon further review, it appeared the Avalanche had six skaters on the ice when Kadri scored, and Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper delivered a lengthy speech about it before exiting his post-game media availability without entertaining other questions.

Nazem Kadri's overtime winner in Game 4 caused quite a stir. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
Nazem Kadri’s overtime winner in Game 4 caused quite a stir. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Here’s what Cooper said before exiting the podium:

It’s the greatest league in the world. The people that run it are amazing. Everything about it. It’s like a dream come true for me, especially being a Canadian kid, growing up and everything that’s gone on. You know, I’ve been part of some heartbreaking losses and defeats to the teams that took us out and been with a group that just fights, fights and fights. And they fought their way to a third Stanley Cup Final in a row. And in a cap era when it’s so damn hard and the rules are put against you because the league wants parity.

And I love that about the league. And that’s what makes it tougher. And just watch this team, what they’ve gone through and the battling that’s gone on. And we’re all in this together: players, coaches, everybody. But this one is going to sting much more than others, just because it was taking on, it was potentially … I don’t know. It’s hard for me. It’s going to be hard for me to speak. I’m going to have to speak. … 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.

Is Cooper right? Should Kadri’s walk-off goal ought to have been overturned?

Let’s start with the play in question. Kadri’s goal is a thing of beauty in and of itself, but we don’t get to see an angle of Nathan MacKinnon taking his time to come off the ice as the sixth skater.

Kailey Mizelle of Bally Sports has a better angle, the Zapruder film, if you will. In this frame, MacKinnon is still on the ice when Kadri first gets control of the puck, and only jumps over the boards when Kadri is making his move on Vasilevskiy. By the letter of the law, this probably should’ve been ruled off.

The league disagreed and provided its explanation:

To little surprise, Kadri also disagreed with Cooper’s contention:

Many journalists and fans alike noted that this type of infraction goes uncalled several times per game, and it’s unfortunate timing for the Lightning that Kadri scored when MacKinnon was just strolling to the bench. Out of sight, out of mind?

Do you think Kadri’s goal should have counted?

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