NHL star Evander Kane didn't cheat on his now estranged wife with his model ex-girlfriend -- instead, folks close to him claim he only reunited with Mara Teigen after his marriage blew up.
Sources close to Evander and Mara tell TMZ ... Anna Kane has her timeline mixed up, because they insist Evander and Mara weren't seeing each other during his marriage. We're told they definitely rekindled their flame, but only in the wake of Anna's July 16 divorce filing.
We're told the San Jose Sharks star and Mara reconnected on social media after not speaking for more than 6 years ... and their now infamous trip to Europe was completely spontaneous.
As we reported ... Evander also claims his estranged wife was straight-up lying when she accused him of betting on the sport -- which could get him in big trouble with the league -- and he's trying to keep their divorce civil.
Anna also claimed Evander's a deadbeat dad who refuses to provide for their daughter, but our sources say EK definitely wants to see her and loves her very much.