[UPDATE: Kadri netted the overtime winner to give the Avs a 3-2 win in Game 4 and a 3-1 series lead over the Lightning.]
The Colorado Avalanche are getting a big lift to their lineup on Wednesday night as they look to take control of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Nazem Kadri will be back in the lineup for Game 4 after missing the past four games due to an injury he suffered in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. Kadri was hit from behind into the boards by Oilers forward Evander Kane, who was suspended for one game for the hit.
There was no timetable as to how long Kadri was expected to be out, and it was never a guarantee that he would be able to return this postseason. He has been inching his way back over the past couple of days and has made enough progress that he is able to return.
Kadri has been one of the Avalanche’s best, most productive players this season and a career-best performance during the regular season. He recorded 28 goals, 59 assists, and 87 total points during the 2021-22 season in only 71 games. Add his two-way play and defensive impacts and he has been one of the top all-around centers in the league. Prior to his injury he scored six goals, eight assists, and 14 total points in the playoffs.
[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]
Part of what has made the Avalanche’s run so impressive is the significant injuries they have been able to play through. Along with Kadri’s absence, Colorado has also been playing without one of its top defenders, Samuel Girard, after he was injured in the Second Round series against the St. Louis Blues. He is out for the remainder of the playoffs.
With a win on Wednesday the Avalanche would be able to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. The return of Kadri certainly helps improve their chances.
For the Lightning, as expected, Nikita Kucherov will play Game 4 while Brayden Point will miss his second consecutive game.
COLORADO AVALANCHE v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (COL leads 2-1)
Game 1 – Avalanche 4, Lightning 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Avalanche 7, Lightning 0
Game 3 – Lightning 6, Avalanche 2
Game 4 – June 22: Avalanche at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 5 – June 24: Lightning at Avalanche, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 6 – June 26: Avalanche at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 7 – June 28: Lightning at Avalanche, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.