DENVER — Luck?
Luck had nothing to do with Nathan MacKinnon getting himself enough space to park like a Rolls Royce on Andrei Vasilevskiy’s stick side, the heel to our deified Tampa Bay goalie’s Achilles.
Luck was on a coffee break when Andrew Cogliano, 177 pounds of pure guts, 5-foot-10 with 6-foot-5 spunk, refused to budge from the crease, even though the Avalanche forward had Lightning defender Jan Rutta — all 6-2, 211 pounds of him — draped all over his back.
Luck had her hands off the wheel when Avs goalie Darcy Kuemper caught Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper in a badly-timed line change some 12:00 into overtime. And when Nazem Kadri boat raced the two Lightning defenders who were stationed between him and the goal for the game-winner a few seconds later.
“(A) great, heads-up play, right?” Colorado coach Jared Bednar told reporters when asked about the Amen at Amalie Arena, Kuemper-to-Artturi Lehkonen-to-Kadri, a bang-bang overtime sequence that brought the Avs home for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final with a 3-1 series lead.
“Trying to play fast, Lehkonen does the early work to get open, opens up on the weak side of the ice, Kuemper hits him with it … Kuemper to Lehky, Lehky to Naz, trying to move the puck up the ice as quickly as you can to create something.”
Luck is a loser’s crutch. It’s a whiner’s recrimination, subjugation’s gasping alibi, the last crooked finger pointed by hubris before it falls, face-first, to the canvas. The Avs scored three goals Wednesday on the sludge masquerading as Tampa’s ice. None of them were, to put it mildly, what you’d call conventional.