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Brittney Griner's call with wife Cherelle will be postponed, Biden administration says

A phone call between jailed WNBA star Brittney Griner and her wife is delayed after an 'unfortunate mistake'. (Author: Gardener)

Brittney Griner'sWASHINGTON -- A phone call between jailed WNBA star Brittney Griner and her wife has been delayed after an earlier attempt to connect on the couple's anniversary fell through due to an "unfortunate error," Biden administration officials said Tuesday. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the original call could not be completed last weekend due to a logistical error, which officials worked quickly to fix so a new call can take place. The State Department and White House did not offer a date for the postponed call. It's a bug that we've been working to fix," Price told reporters on Tuesday. Griner should have spoken to her wife Cherelle on Saturday, the couple's fourth wedding anniversary, for the first time since their arrest in Russia in mid-February. The call was to be routed through the American Embassy in Russia, which was to put the call through. More: 'Unacceptable': WNBA star Brittney Griner's wife is upset the planned anniversary call never materialized in about two weeks. She said that although she was initially concerned that Russian authorities had thwarted the call, she later learned that her wife had tried to call her 11 times by dialing a number for the U. Price said Tuesday the department deeply regrets the mistake, which he said was exacerbated by staff shortages at the embassy, ​​including technicians who are in a third country due to Russian government restrictions on the embassy and its operations. A senior State Department official speaking earlier Tuesday said the call should have gone through the Marine Guard station at the embassy, ​​which is staffed 24 hours a day, but the call appears to have been rerouted through a remote location that is not staffed was on Saturday. Brittney Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and seven-time WNBA All-Star who plays for Phoenix Mercury, was arrested at a Russian airport on February 17 after authorities there said a search of her bag found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. Russian state news agency Tass reported last week that their detention had been extended until at least July 2. Jean-Pierre said she had no information on whether President Joe Biden would meet Cherelle Griner, but said, "The State Department has been in regular contact with Ms. Griner. Associated Press writers Matthew Lee and Chris Megerian in Washington contributed to this report.

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Griner, wife should say "error" after calling

The White House said Tuesday that a phone call between jailed WNBA star Brittney Griner and her wife is being postponed after an earlier attempt to connect on the couple's wedding anniversary fell through due to an "unfortunate error." (Author: Gardener)

GrinerWNBA star Brittney Griner's wife claims no one was there to take Griner's calls because the phones on the U. WNBA star Brittney Griner's wife claims no one was there to take Griner's calls because the phones on the U. WASHINGTON -- A phone call between jailed WNBA star Brittney Griner and her wife is being postponed after a previous attempt to connect on the couple's anniversary fell through due to an "unfortunate error," Biden administration officials said on Tuesday. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the original call could not be completed last weekend because of a "logistical error," which officials worked quickly to fix so a new call can take place. The State Department and White House did not offer a date for the postponed call. It's a bug that we've been working to fix," Price told reporters on Tuesday. Griner should have spoken to her wife Cherelle on Saturday, the couple's fourth anniversary, for the first time since her arrest in Russia in mid-February. The call should have been routed through the American Embassy in Russia, which should have put the call through, but Cherelle Griner told The Associated Press on Monday that a call never came, even though it had been approved by the Russian government, she said that although she was initially concerned that Russian authorities had thwarted the call, she later learned that her wife had attempted to call her 11 times by dialing a US embassy number she had been given but that no one picked up the line on Saturday.” Price said Tuesday the department deeply regrets the mistake, which he says was exacerbated by staffing shortages at the embassy, ​​including technicians, who are located in a third country due to Russian government restrictions that imposed on the embassy and its operations. A senior State Department official, speaking earlier Tuesday, said the call should have gone through the Marine Guard station at the embassy, ​​which is staffed 24 hours a day. "That was an unfortunate mistake," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. Brittney Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and seven-time WNBA All-Star who plays for Phoenix Mercury, was arrested at a Russian airport on February 17 after authorities there said a search of her bag found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. The State Department in May declared her unjustly detained and placed her case under the oversight of the President's special envoy for hostage affairs, effectively the government's chief hostage negotiator. Russian state news agency Tass reported last week that her detention had been extended until July 2. Jean-Pierre said she had no information on whether President Joe Biden would meet Cherelle Griner, but said, "The State Department has been in regular conversational contact with Ms. Griner.

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Brittney Griner's wife says she has lost 'trust' in the US government

WNBA star Brittney Griner was scheduled to speak to her wife for the first time in four months, but plans were messed up by the US State Department. (Author: Gardener)

Brittney Griner'sCherelle and Brittney Griner, the WNBA star imprisoned in Russia, were scheduled to speak for the first time on Saturday to mark their fourth wedding anniversary. The S. Embassy line was off line because it was the weekend, a US State Department spokesman told ABC News, and the call never went through. I was done, fed up," Cherelle Griner said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I'm pretty sure I texted [Brittney's] agent and said, 'I don't want to speak to anyone. A State Department spokesman told ABC News: "We deeply regret that due to a logistical error, Brittney Griner was unable to speak to her wife. We remain in regular contact with the families of the hostages or those unjustly detained; we are grateful for their partnership and feedback; and we continue to work to ensure that we communicate and share information in a way that is beneficial to our families." Chicago Sky's Candace Parker #3 and Chicago Sky's Stefanie Dolson #31 defend Phoenix Mercury's Brittney Griner #42 in the first half at the Footprint Center, Oct. 10, 2021, in Phoenix. Cherelle Griner said the call was scheduled for two weeks. "I find it unacceptable and I have no faith in our government right now," she told the AP. If I can't trust you to take an after hours call on Saturday, how can I trust you to actually negotiate on my wife's behalf to get home?The inability to reach her wife is a "unfortunate mistake," adding that another phone call is planned. "This was an unfortunate error and the State Department is working to correct it as soon as possible," Jean-Pierre said, but Brittney Griner has been incarcerated in Russia since February and last week her pre-trial detention was extended until at least July 2. According to Russian state media agency TASS Cherelle Griner was taken into custody February 17 at Sheremetyevo International Airport after officers allegedly found vape cartridges containing hash oil in her bag with hash oil illegal in Russia Interview last month that her wife texted her wrote when she was first taken into custody, but Brittney's phone was stolen shortly after.Cherelle Griner, wife of WNBA superstar Brittney Griner, who has been incarcerated in a Russian prison for nearly 100 days, spoke on May 24, 2022 for the first time in an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts, but they had not communicated over the phone "sporadi sh" through letters, Cherelle Griner said. "[Brittney] wrote me a letter and was like, 'Babe, I know you want to go downstairs, but not yet,'" she said. Every single day is important for me to be healthy, to be vigilant, to be attentive to make sure that she comes back," she added, "according to a representative of the Khimki court of the Moscow region, TASS reported. MORE: Brittney Griner's wife opens up about WNBA star's detention in Russia She has been charged with "large-scale drug trafficking" and could face up to 10 years in prison, according to the New York Times. The South American government classified Brittney Griner's case as "unlawfully detained" in Russia on May 3, meaning the US would work to negotiate her release. Brittney Griner should not be jailed. She should not be jailed a single one detained for a day longer," said Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department. Price also said the State Department continues to work to gain regular access to US detainees in Russia, including Paul Whelan, who has been in a Russian jail since 2018. WNBA star Brittney Griner's pre-trial detention in Russia is extended as the US working to negotiate her release Russia's invasion of Ukraine began a week after Griner's incarceration. Some officials are concerned that Americans detained in Russia could be used as leverage in the ongoing conflict. Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury during the first half of game four of the 2021 WNBA Semifinals at the Footprint Center, October 6, 2021, in Phoenix. Cherelle Griner told GMA she would like to speak to President Joe Biden. She's a political pawn," she said. When asked about a possible meeting between Cherelle Griner and President Biden, Jean-Pierre said, "We have nothing to say about a possible phone call or meeting." Says Brittney, president of the WNBA Players Association Griner is being held in Russia "due to a gender issue." ABC News' Mark Osborne, Ben Gittleson, Natalia Shumskaia, and Tanya Stukalova contributed to this report.

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Brittney Griner's long-awaited call with her wife was botched by a "logistical error" by the State Department

The WNBA superstar's wife said she has "zero confidence in our government" to free Griner from Russian custody after the heartbreaking mistake. (Author: Gardener)

Brittney Griner's* WNBA superstar Brittney Griner has been jailed in Russia since February on drug-related charges. * Her wife, Cherelle, had plans to speak to Griner for the first time in over 100 days on Saturday. * The call failed due to a "logistical error" at the US Embassy in Moscow. A "logistical error" by the State Department botched plans for Brittney Griner and her wife Cherelle to speak for the first time in more than 100 days. The WNBA superstar has been unjustly detained in Russia since her February 17 arrest when officials accused her of traveling with a vape cartridge in her luggage. On the Saturday of her fourth wedding anniversary, she was finally to hear her wife's voice. But the phone call, which had been in the works for several weeks, never materialized after US embassy staff in Moscow failed to answer the phone to put Griner through to her wife. The seven-time WNBA All-Star dialed the number she was given 11 times over several hours to reach Cherelle, the Associated Press reported. Cherelle believed that finally hearing her wife's voice would allow her to "really know if she's okay or if she's just seconds away from nonexistent." "It was such a big moment because for the first time I could really tell if she was okay," Cherelle told the AP. A State Department spokesman told Insider, "We deeply regret that Brittney Griner was unable to speak to her wife due to a logistical error." on her call, "was exacerbated in part by the fact that our embassy in Moscow is subject to significant restrictions due to ongoing tensions over Russia's war in Ukraine." Cherelle initially suspected that she and her wife were unable to establish a connection due to interference on the Russian side. I was done, fed up,” when she finally learned that the phone Griner repeatedly dialed the US Embassy in Moscow was not busy. "We deeply regret that due to a logistical error, Brittney Griner was unable to speak to her wife." A State Department spokesman told Insider, "We remain in regular contact with the families of the hostages or those wrongly detained; we are grateful for their partnership and feedback; and we continue to work to ensure we communicate and share information in a way that is useful to our families," the spokesperson added. But for Cherelle, who has repeatedly urged President Joe Biden and his administration to take action on her wife's behalf, the one heartbreaking mistake was enough to shatter any goodwill she left with American officials. "I find it unacceptable and I have no faith in our government right now," Cherelle told the AP. "If I can't trust you to take a Saturday call how can I trust you outside of business hours to actually negotiate on my wife's behalf to get home?" The US government has repeatedly assured Griner's family that their release is a top priority. But the State Department's blunder is only the latest misstep, casting doubt on their efforts to bring them home. Despite several public requests to meet with Biden or members of his administration, Cherelle has yet to discuss her wife's situation with the president. And while she told the AP that she still hopes she can connect with Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris, Cherelle concedes that "it feels like a no at this point." Aron Solomon, who serves as chief legal analyst for Esquire Digital, told Insider that "the debacle that was this weekend's failed phone call speaks volumes" about the seriousness and urgency with which the government is handling Griner's case. "I can't disagree with her," Solomon said, referring to Cherelle's expressed distrust of US officials. "I keep wondering if the US government would use the same strategy if [NBA superstar] Kyrie Irving were wrongly arrested," he added. Griner's agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, declined to comment on whether the State Department's mix-up affected her confidence in the government's handling of her client's case. Instead, she directed Insiders to her most recent tweet, in which she wrote, "Every time I think about Griner's calls going unanswered, my heart breaks in pieces. "If #BrittneyGriner is a priority, @POTUS will be meeting with Brittney's family and this administration will do whatever is necessary to get her home quickly and safely," Colas added in a later post. Griner's detention was extended for the second time in a month on June 15, keeping the Phoenix Mercury Center in foreign custody until at least July 2. However, Solomon previously told Insider that the new deadline is "as fictional as any other date." and expressed serious doubts that Griner's case would ever go to trial. "Anyone who is still taking Russia's word on the Griner case is stupid," he said.

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Wife of WNBA's Brittney Griner says scheduled call never happened

Cherelle and Brittney Griner have not spoken on the phone in the four months since the basketball star's arrest in Russia, where she remains incarcerated. (Author: Gardener)

Brittney GrinerWASHINGTON (AP) - WNBA star Brittney Griner tried nearly a dozen times to call her wife through the American Embassy in Russia on Saturday, the couple's fourth anniversary, but they couldn't connect because the phone line at the embassy is not busy was, Cherelle Griner said Monday. The couple have not spoken on the phone in the four months since Griner's arrest in Russia, where she remains detained. That should have changed on Saturday, when a long-awaited call after receiving approval from the Russian government was finally set to take place. But the day came and went without any contact, and Cherelle Griner agonized over what had gone wrong and suspected, at least at first, that the Russian authorities had thwarted the call. On Monday, she said she learned a more staggering truth from her wife's lawyers: Brittney Griner had, in fact, attempted to call 11 times over a period of several hours using a number given to her at the US Embassy in Moscow, who the couple had said would then put the call through to Cherelle Griner in Phoenix. But each time the call went unanswered because the counter in the embassy where the phone rang was apparently unmanned on Saturday. I was done, fed up," Cherelle Griner said in an interview with The Associated Press, recounting how an anniversary she had been eagerly awaiting was spent in tears instead. It's going to take me a minute to sort out my feelings and just tell everyone I'm not available right now.” Because I was just blown away. The State Department said Monday, "We deeply regret that due to a logistical error, Brittney Griner was unable to speak to her wife." The department reiterated that its priority is no higher than the safety of Americans abroad and that it is in regular contact with Families of hostages and unlawfully detained. For Cherelle Griner, the experience added to already smoldering frustrations with the US. Although US officials have repeatedly said they are working behind the scenes to bring the two-time Olympic gold medalist home from Russia, she said she was "very upset" about the bullshit, especially since the call had been on the schedule for two weeks and nobody had warned her during this time that it could be logistically impossible because of the weekend. She added: "I find it unacceptable and I have no faith in our government at the moment. If I can't trust you to take an after hours Saturday call, how can I trust you to actually negotiate on my wife's behalf to get home? Cherelle Griner said a contact in the US government apologized to her for the mistake. She said she has since learned that the one number Brittney Griner was given to dial handles calls from prisoners, usually Monday through Friday but not weekends, so no one was there to transfer the call. The State Department in May declared her unjustly detained and placed her case under the oversight of the President's special envoy for hostage affairs, effectively the government's chief hostage negotiator. Cherelle Griner says that until now she has had to rely solely on other people's assessments of her wife's condition. Lawyers and consular affairs officials have been able to speak to the basketball star, but her wife has not. She went to sleep at 5 p.m. the night before the call. so that she was awake and alert at midnight to receive the expected call from Russia to Phoenix, which never came. "That was such a big moment because for the first time I could really tell if she's okay," Cherelle Griner said, describing it as a "life-or-death" opportunity to see how her wife is actually held .

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Brittney Griner's wife says she has lost 'trust' in the US government

WNBA star Brittney Griner was scheduled to speak to her wife for the first time in four months, but plans were messed up by the US State Department. (Author: Gardener)

Brittney Griner'sCherelle and Brittney Griner, the WNBA star imprisoned in Russia, were scheduled to speak for the first time on Saturday to mark their fourth wedding anniversary. The S. Embassy line was off line because it was the weekend, a US State Department spokesman told ABC News, and the call never went through. I was done, fed up," Cherelle Griner said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I'm pretty sure I texted [Brittney's] agent and said, 'I don't want to speak to anyone. A State Department spokesman told ABC News: "We deeply regret that due to a logistical error, Brittney Griner was unable to speak to her wife. We remain in regular contact with the families of the hostages or those unjustly detained; we are grateful for their partnership and feedback; and we continue to work to ensure that we communicate and share information in a way that is beneficial to our families." Chicago Sky's Candace Parker #3 and Chicago Sky's Stefanie Dolson #31 defend Phoenix Mercury's Brittney Griner #42 in the first half at the Footprint Center, Oct. 10, 2021, in Phoenix. Cherelle Griner said the call was scheduled for two weeks. "I find it unacceptable and I have no faith in our government right now," she told the AP. If I can't trust you to take an after hours call on Saturday, how can I trust you to actually negotiate on my wife's behalf to get home?The inability to reach her wife is a "unfortunate mistake," adding that another phone call is planned. "This was an unfortunate error and the State Department is working to correct it as soon as possible," Jean-Pierre said, but Brittney Griner has been incarcerated in Russia since February and last week her pre-trial detention was extended until at least July 2. According to Russian state media agency TASS Cherelle Griner was taken into custody February 17 at Sheremetyevo International Airport after officers allegedly found vape cartridges containing hash oil in her bag with hash oil illegal in Russia Interview last month that her wife texted her wrote when she was first taken into custody, but Brittney's phone was stolen shortly after.Cherelle Griner, wife of WNBA superstar Brittney Griner, who has been incarcerated in a Russian prison for nearly 100 days, spoke on May 24, 2022 for the first time in an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts, but they had not communicated over the phone "sporadi sh" through letters, Cherelle Griner said. "[Brittney] wrote me a letter and was like, 'Babe, I know you want to go downstairs, but not yet,'" she said. Every single day is important for me to be healthy, to be vigilant, to be attentive to make sure that she comes back," she added, "according to a representative of the Khimki court of the Moscow region, TASS reported. MORE: Brittney Griner's wife opens up about WNBA star's detention in Russia She has been charged with "large-scale drug trafficking" and could face up to 10 years in prison, according to the New York Times. The South American government classified Brittney Griner's case as "unlawfully detained" in Russia on May 3, meaning the US would work to negotiate her release. Brittney Griner should not be jailed. She should not be jailed a single one detained for a day longer," said Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department. Price also said the State Department continues to work to gain regular access to US detainees in Russia, including Paul Whelan, who has been in a Russian jail since 2018. WNBA star Brittney Griner's pre-trial detention in Russia is extended as the US working to negotiate her release Russia's invasion of Ukraine began a week after Griner's incarceration. Some officials are concerned that Americans detained in Russia could be used as leverage in the ongoing conflict. Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury during the first half of game four of the 2021 WNBA Semifinals at the Footprint Center, October 6, 2021, in Phoenix. Cherelle Griner told GMA she would like to speak to President Joe Biden. She's a political pawn," she said. When asked about a possible meeting between Cherelle Griner and President Biden, Jean-Pierre said, "We have nothing to say about a possible phone call or meeting." Says Brittney, president of the WNBA Players Association Griner is being held in Russia "due to a gender issue." ABC News' Mark Osborne, Ben Gittleson, Natalia Shumskaia, and Tanya Stukalova contributed to this report.

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Avs pulls Kuemper up as Game 4 status

The Colorado Avalanche pulled goalie Darcy Kuemper out of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals after the Tampa Bay Lightning took a 5-2 lead midway through the second period Monday night. (Author: Gardener)

Kuemper- The Colorado Avalanche faces a critical decision in the crease after starter Darcy Kuemper was pulled from a 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of Monday night's Stanley Cup Finals. Kümper allowed five goals on 22 shots before getting the hook midway through the second period. He was replaced by Pavel Francouz, who made nine saves from 10 shots. The Avalanche led the best-of-seven series 2-1. Game 4 is here Wednesday, and Colorado coach Jared Bednar didn't line up behind Kuemper to start this matchup. "He didn't have a good night, you know?" said Bednar when asked about his trust in Kuemper. Just wasn't as good as we needed to be. "Continued to press what will go into the Game 4 starter decision," Bednar added, "Same thing that goes into the decision." Colorado flew high before Game 3 after executing a near-perfect plan to break Tampa Bay on Leading 7-0 Saturday in Game 2. Kuemper saw just 16 shots in that game, thoroughly dominating the Avs as it marked his first road loss of the postseason.Kuemper got the nod over Francouz as Colorado's starter for the cup final despite a so-so second-round streak against St. Louis and after not playing against the Lightning for more than two weeks before the opener, he suffered an upper-body injury in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against Edmonton, and Francouz stepped in to stop Colorado from four straight wins. Nonetheless, Bednar returned to Kuemper for Game 1 of the season (37-12-4, .921 sa 5 percent, 2.54 goals against average) Francouz was a great addition g during the regular season (15-5-1, .916 SV%, 2.55 GAA) and was statistically the better goaltender during the playoffs (6-0-0, .906 SV% and 2.86 GAA vs. Kuemper at 8-2-0, 0.901 SV% and 2.44 GAA). When Kuemper starts Game 4, his teammates believe he can return to his form. "Fully confident [he can recover]," said Josh Manson. He'll bounce back Nazem Kadri was also out with a broken thumb. Valeri Nichushkin appeared to score the game's first goal in the opening period, but Tampa Bay successfully challenged an offside position to hold the game 0-0. It took Lightning trainer Jon Cooper so long to decide whether to review The Play that the storyline almost resumed, and Bednar objected. "It's been long," he said of the process. It was probably three times what we normally get.” Cooper agreed and made a request in his own postgame press conference for the NHL to make the review process more efficient. Colorado got their icebreaker from Gabriel Landeskog on a power play goal instead. It was the Avalanche's ninth straight goal in the series, dating back to the end of Game 1. But then Tampa Bay started scoring in bunches. Anthony Cirelli and Ondrej Palat gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes, Tampa Bay's first lead had held in the Cup final. Nick Paul, injured late in the first half but returning for the second, capitalized on a Manson giveaway early in that frame to put it 3-1. Paul left the ice right after that and didn't take another layer. "The execution under pressure tonight wasn't great," said Bednar. "I think we had some games to do that we didn't do. We got a little sweet with the puck where in Game 1 and Game 2 I thought we were just moving it. I think that was obviously their best game of the series and it wasn't ours. Steven Stamkos and Pat Maroon scored four minutes apart to give Tampa Bay a three-lead and end Kuemper's evening. Corey Perry crowned the goal with a power play marker. It was a bad night for Colorado, but that doesn't mean the series went wrong for them. "It's the Stanley Cup Finals. We don't expect a win,” said Nathan MacKinnon. Good or bad, we will not trade places with anyone. We're playing our best at the moment. We're playing against the best team, they've won back-to-back [Stanley Cups]. We're still comfortable. We feel good from head to toe with our team to recover from disappointments. "We go into [every] game resilient. I think that's our mentality," said MacKinnon. "Even in the third [period] we played really well. Of course we didn't score any goals or anything, but I think that's what we learned. Like Tampa, they didn't hang their heads when they lost to us in Game 2 and we're not going to do the same tonight."

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Tampa Bay Lightning Turntable, destroy Colorado Avalanche in Game 3

The Tampa Bay Lightning successfully challenged the Colorado Avalanche's opening goal and went on to claim their first Stanley Cup Finals victory. (Author: Gardener)

TampaAfter being blown out in Game 2, the Tampa Bay Lightning needed several things at home in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals: a better first period and a break. They got both and drove to a 6-2 win that reduced their deficit against the Colorado Avalanche to two games to one and showed why they are two-time defending champions. They extended their home winning streak to eight games while the Avalanche lost away for the first time. Tampa Bay Lightning right winger Corey Perry celebrates his goal against the Colorado Avalanche in the second period. The Avalanche had scored three first-half goals in both games in Denver and won 4-3 and 7-0 in overtime. From NFL games to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day. The Lightning video crew finally found a good angle after much testing and Lightning trainer Jon Cooper challenged the goal. The NHL, after lengthy review, ruled that Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram had pulled the puck slightly out of the zone and the game was offside. The Lightning Video team thinks the game is offside so Jon challenges Cooper. Cooper and the Lightning are 1-0 this postseason (missed stoppage). So far in the playoffs, the coaches are 2-1 in offside games. pic.twitter.com/aa7BuLABTU— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) June 21, 2022 "It's been a long time," Avalanche trainer Jared Bednar said of the time it took the Lightning to complete the challenge. Although Gabriel Landeskog really gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead, Anthony Cirelli and Ondrej Palat scored to give the Lightning their first lead of the series. After a game where everything went wrong, the Lightning had plenty to do in Game 3, although the game was marred by an injury to star Nikita Kucherov. ♦ Nick Paul, who appeared injured in the first period, returned in the second period to give Lightning a 3-1 lead. "In true hockey player fashion, he sucks it up and comes out and scores the eventual game winner," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos told reporters. ♦ Stamkos scored his first points of the series with a goal and an assist. ♦ Perry scored the Lightning's first power play goal of the series. ♦ Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman had two assists and was up-3 after being down-4 in the first two games. ♦ Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy returned to form with 37 saves, including a big block save early on against J. Andrei Vasilevskiy absolutely robs JT Compher to keep the game scoreless #gobolts pic.twitter.com/lpGTjb3WIK— Alex Micheletti (@AlexMicheletti ) June 21, 2022 "He was with us every step of the way," said Lightning forward Pat Maroon. He knows how to make it big for us." The Lightning has found a way to negate Colorado's speed and will look to tie the series Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, ABC) at the Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay had to the east 2-0 down in the Conference Finals ahead of a fourth straight win over the New York Rangers."We knew this was a competitive game for us," Stamkos said."I think that's how we played tonight. Kucherov had two." Assists but left the game after being checked by Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews in the third period Nikita Kucherov after that cross check by Devon Toews into the locker room pic.twitter.com/oiDl3cjKRO - Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) June 21st 2022 Cooper said he would have an update on Kucherov on Tuesday."It's a contact game but the guys know what they're doing," Cooper said of the game. "Smart, accomplished players know what they're doing with their racquet. Two key players did not dress for Game 3 due to injury: Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky and Lightning forward Brayden Point. Bednar drew goalie Darcy Kuemper after giving up five goals on 22 shots. Pavel Francouz gave up the last Lightning goal. "He didn't have a good night," Bednar said of Kuemper. The Avalanche used both goaltenders in the playoffs, largely due to Kuemper's injuries. Bednar, as expected, did not specify who would start Game 4. This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tampa Bay Lightning Turntables, Rout Colorado Avalanche in Game 3

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Avs pulls Kuemper up as Game 4 status

The Colorado Avalanche pulled goalie Darcy Kuemper out of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals after the Tampa Bay Lightning took a 5-2 lead midway through the second period Monday night. (Author: Gardener)

Kuemper— The Colorado Avalanche faces a critical decision in the crease after starter Darcy Kuemper was pulled in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals Monday night after a 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kümper allowed five goals on 22 shots before getting the hook midway through the second period. He was replaced by Pavel Francouz, who made nine saves from 10 shots. The Avalanche lead the best-of-seven series 2-1. Game 4 is here Wednesday, and Colorado coach Jared Bednar didn't line up behind Kuemper to start this matchup. "He didn't have a good night, you know?" said Bednar when asked about his trust in Kuemper. Just wasn't as good as we needed to be." Bednar continued to press on what will go into deciding the Game 4 starter, adding, "Same as whatever goes into deciding." Colorado flew after the execution high before Game 3 a near-perfect plan to lead Tampa Bay 7-0 in Saturday's Game 2. Kuemper saw just 16 shots in that game, thoroughly dominating the Avs. Game 3 marked Colorado's first time in a game fell short of that streak, and it marked their first away loss of the postseason. Kuemper was awarded Francouz as Colorado's starter for the Cup finals, despite a patchy second-round streak against St. Louis and after beating the Lightning more than two weeks before the opener He suffered an upper-body injury in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against Edmonton, and Francouz stepped in to stop Colorado from four straight wins te Bednar returned to Kuemper for Game 1 of the season (37.12.4, .9 21 save percentage, 2.54 goals – against average). Francouz was a great addition during the regular season (15-5-1, 0.916 SV%, 2.55 GAA) and was statistically the better goalie during the playoffs (6-0-0, 0.906 SV% and 2.86 GAA vs. Kuemper at 8-2-0, 0.901 SV% and 2.44 GAA). When Kuemper starts Game 4, his teammates believe he can return to his form. "Fully confident [he can recover]," said Josh Manson. As Bednar noted, the Avalanche didn't play as usual on Monday night. Early on, Colorado was undermanned up front, with Andre Burakovsky sidelined with an apparent hand injury sustained in Game 2 when he blocked a shot. Valeri Nichushkin appeared to score the first goal of the game in the opening period, but Tampa Bay successfully challenged for offside in a 0-0 game. Lightning coach Jon Cooper took so long to decide whether to review the game that action almost resumed, and Bednar objected. "It took a long time," he said of the process. Colorado got their icebreaker from Gabriel Landeskog on a power play goal instead. It was the Avalanche's ninth straight goal in the series, dating back to the end of Game 1. But that's when Tampa Bay started scoring in bunches. Anthony Cirelli and Ondrej Palat gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes, the first lead Tampa Bay had held in the Cup final. Nick Paul, injured late in the first half but returning for the second, capitalized on a Manson giveaway early in that frame to put it 3-1. "Tonight's execution under pressure wasn't great," Bednar said. "I think we had some plays to make that we didn't make. I think that was obviously their best game of the series, and it wasn't ours.” Landeskog scored the Avs' second goal on a subsequent power play for his first multi-goal playoff game since Game 3 of Colorado's first-round series in Nashville. Steven Stamkos and Pat Maroon scored four minutes apart to give Tampa Bay a three-lead and end Kuemper's evening. Corey Perry crowned the goal with a power play marker. It was a bad night for Colorado, but that doesn't mean the series went wrong for them. "It's the Stanley Cup final. We're not expecting a win," said Nathan MacKinnon. Good or bad, we will not trade places with anyone. We've waited a long time for this. We're playing our best at the moment. We're playing against the best team, they've won back-to-back [Stanley Cups]. We're still comfortable. We're feeling good about our team from head to toe." Leading up to the Lightning game, the Avalanche repeatedly said they hoped one day to emulate their status as repeat contenders to help them recover from disappointment: "We're going into [each] resilient Game. I think that's our mentality," MacKinnon said. "Even in the third [period] we played really well. Of course we didn't score or anything, but I think we learned that. Just like Tampa They didn't hang their heads when they lost to us in Game 2 and we won't do the same tonight."

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Best moments, scenes and breakdowns as Tampa Bay Lightning defeats Colorado Avalanche in Game 3

The defending champion returned home 0-2. The Avs blitzed the Lightning in the first two games of the Finals, but Game 3 was a whole different story. (Author: Gardener)

Game 3But the Tampa Bay Lightning, winners of back-to-back titles, returned home and reduced their two-game deficit to one by beating the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 in Game 3 on Monday. It wasn't just the two-game deficit in the Stanley Cup Finals that worried Lightning fans; so the Avalanche had won. Colorado took an early lead in both games and absolutely dominated Tampa Bay in Game 2. Blitz goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, one of the best postseason goalies in NHL history, was blitzed for seven goals Saturday. But on Monday, Colorado's goaltender felt the pressure. Darcy Kuemper was pulled off as Tampa Bay took a 5-2 lead at halftime in the second period. Here's what happened when the Lightning made it on their home ice in Game 3. Colorado is in somewhat uncharted territory. The Avalanche hadn't lost since May 25 before losing 6-2 on Monday. Kuemper was pulled off and threw a cloud over their goalkeeper. Tampa Bay was a stunner. It should have been an exciting win - only the Lightning lost Nicholas Paul and Nikita Kucherov to apparent injuries in the process. Kucherov retired late in the third after being tied on the boards with Devon Toews. Paul left in the second half right after he scored. It was the first away loss Colorado had suffered in the playoffs, but the Avs still lead the series 2-1. Tampa Bay stays perfectly at home in the postseason. What does that foreshadow on Game 4 on Wednesday? – Kristen Shilton As Jon Cooper said before Game 3: “These guys are a hell of a team, but so are we. He's right, the Lightning have been down before. The Stanley Cup finals seem grossly exaggerated. Just as the Lightning roared back away from a 2-0 deficit in the Eastern Conference Finals, they look like a different team in Game 3 against the Avalanche. In Game 2 they amassed 16 shots have fired 26 shots at the Avalanche goal tonight. They earned 50% of shot attempts in two stages after only getting 29% of them in Game 2. Failing to score on the power play in the first two games, they finally got their stars in check in Denver: Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat and Victor Hedman all had multi-point games. Oh, and perhaps most importantly, they scored six goals, two of the Avalanche's goals, while chasing down Colorado goalie Darcy Kuemper. "We've got to go out there and find our best game," said Pat Maroon ahead of Game 3, in which he contributed a goal in attack. Hopefully we can show them our best tonight." But with 20 minutes to go, the Avalanche are one of the few teams that can close a four-goal deficit. -- Greg Wyshynski As the Lightning was 5-2 after halftime taking the lead point of the second, Darcy Kuemper was out after allowing five goals on 21 shots Kuemper was sharp early in the first half but had become a liability, unable to withstand the pressure from the Lightning and Colorado (maybe not accidentally) it was "not playing with confidence in front of him. This was the first game in a while where Kuemper was really challenged to improve. Tampa Bay was 2-0 down in the cup final and everyone knew a pushback was coming. The Avalanche Haven "He hasn't had much to do with adversity lately and Kuemper, who only saw 16 shots in Game 2, didn't cope well with that. They win the races and battles and beat Colorado's own game. And Andrei Vasilevskiy sees again locked out. That could be even worse for the Avalanche than seeing their own starter fight. For much of it, the Lightning's first period felt more like survival than an assertive response to the Avalanche's 2-0 lead. About four minutes into the game they needed Andrei Vasilevskiy's toe save against J. T. Compher They needed the NHL Situation Room to take Valeri Nichushkin's floater goal off the board for offside They needed a funky "no shot" goal from Anthony Cirelli to slip past Darcy Kuemper and into the net to score the first goal since the second period of Game 1. But then in a flash they looked w ie the Lightning. Ondrej Palat steals the puck from a Devon Toews pass. Steven Stamkos set up Palat to make it 2-1 as the unsung winger scored in his ninth straight home playoff game. And Vasilevskiy maintained the lead against Colorado pressure as the Avs had 14 shots on target during that period. The Lightning are 6-1 when leading after a period. More importantly, they weren't down by multiple goals after the first 10 minutes of a game in this series. Valeri Nichushkin thought he scored the first goal of the game with an exchange shot that defeated Andrei Vasilevskiy early in the first period. Tampa Bay would get the change. The Lightning successfully challenged the game for offside, taking the wind out of Colorado's sails in a frame that had been largely piloted by Tampa Bay. However, it didn't last long. Colorado is as resilient a team as you'll find, and proved it again when they weathered both the initial pressure from Tampa Bay and their early power play opportunity. Not only did the Avalanche hold the Lightning back, they also took a penalty. Gabriel Landeskog scored the following man advantage to turn the tide in Tampa Bay. That was the ninth straight unanswered goal Colorado scored in that series. It was a nine-minute stretch that showcased the best of Colorado: depth, steadfastness, talent, identity. The Avalanche will need more of these segments as the night progresses. They got sloppy as the period progressed. And it was the Blitz who benefited with two goals. Colorado hasn't had to face a lot of adversity lately. After reversing the goal and falling behind for the first time in this cup final, how will they now face a real challenge? -- Shilton -- Shilton The Colorado Rockies pitcher and Denver native Kyle Freeland stood out from the crowd as he cheered on his hometown team. The tradition of teams feeding Buccigross continued ahead of Game 3. The Lightning even brought their mascot, ThunderBug, into the game. If you need a better look, our Greg Wyshynski has you covered. ESPN behind the scenes: Preparing the chicken for @Buccigross on THE POINT, filmed in Super Sauce Vision! Will This Lightning Hype Video Have Tampa Bay Fans Run Through A Wall Before The Puck Drops?

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