AVALANCHE

Avalanche take Game 3 and are one win from finals, but suffer huge loss

Jun 4, 2022, 9:58 PM
Nazem Kadri...
Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche haven’t lost on the road yet this postseason, winners of six straight, including Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.

While the Avs won 4-2, the tone was somber postgame, the team knew they suffered a big loss.

Only 66 seconds into Saturday’s game, known goon Evander Kane took a run at Avs forward Nazem Kadri, cross-checking him into the boards from far out. Kadri crumpled to the ice in a ton of pain, eventually being helped off while Kane was sent to the box for a five-minute major penalty. Kadri crashed into the wall with no chance to protect himself, suffering an injury that ended his night.

“I was on the bench, but I don’t like it,” Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “Those are the ones that gives you chills down your spine, and you’re taught from a young age that you don’t do that and especially at that distance from the boards. So a dangerous play.”

Kadri has scored 14 points in 12 contests coming into Game 3, playing some of the best hockey of his 13-year-career.

“He’s out; he’ll be out for the series at least if not longer. That’s the most dangerous play in hockey,” Colorado Head Coach Jared Bednar said. “His role will be filled by committee; that’s how big of a role he plays for us. It’s a big loss for us.”

Stepping up for Kadri in Game 3 was J.T. Compher, who jumped up to the third line. He took a bad tripping penalty halfway through the third just after the Oilers had tied the game at 2-2. But backup goalie Pavel Francouz, who once again got the start for the injured Darcy Kuemper, made a massive save. Another Oilers shot rung iron and then spit out of the zone. Compher sprung out of the box to get behind the Edmonton goal, scoring a soft one on Mike Smith that went down as the game-winner.

“Definitely a roller coaster. Not a good time to take a penalty; unbelievable job by the PK and Frankie,” he said. “Little bit of luck off the post but from the lowest and in the box, and waiting and then able to get one, and that’s the highest for sure.”

Valeri Nichushkin had Colorado’s first two scores, and Mikko Rantanen added an empty-netter. Teams that go up 3-0 are 198-4 in NHL history, and the Avs are yet to lose this postseason on the road. Game 4 is Monday, but the Avs will be without Kadri as the injuries start to pile up. Andre Burakovsky, Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Kuemper missed Game 3, while Samuel Girard is already out for the postseason.

Bednar’s definitive answer to the Kadri question has to spur the league office into action. It’s understandable for the refs to hand Kane a big penalty without ejection and leave it to the Department of Player Safety. Without severe punitive action, Kane’s hit, which any 12-year-old knows is a no-no, is now a risk worth taking any time an NHL player sees a star turn his back in a corner. The last thing Colorado will want to see is Kane in there for Game 4 with his season on the line, and if the home team gets down, what the historically speaking hot-head will do to an already banged-up Colorado club.
***

Avalanche

Gabriel Landeskog...
Will Petersen

Watch the moment Landeskog and the Stanley Cup arrived back in Denver

Fresh off their flight back from Tampa Bay, the Colorado Avalanche safely arrived at Denver International Airport with some precious cargo in hand
1 day ago
Blink 182...
Will Petersen

Blink 182 just congratulated the Avalanche for winning the Stanley Cup

The band sent a tweet from their official account on Monday afternoon congratulating the Avs after they won their first Stanley Cup since 2001 on Sunday night
1 day ago
Valeri Nichushkin...
Will Petersen

You have to see the brutal foot injury Valeri Nichushkin played through

Nichushkin is a world champion with an amazing (and gross) photo to cherish the rest of his life. His foot was in bad shape
1 day ago
Gabe Landeskog...
Andrew Mason

Watch: The Avalanche lifts the Stanley Cup for the third time

Watch the moment for which Avalanche fans have been waiting 21 years: a Colorado captain accepting the Stanley Cup for the third time.
2 days ago
Landeskog with the Stanley Cup...
Andrew Mason

How Denver’s other teams celebrated the Avalanche’s Stanley Cup

Here's how Denver's teams and players reacted after the Avalanche finished off the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night:
2 days ago
Avalanche fans show their support...
Jake Shapiro

Social media explodes as Avalanche hoist the Stanley Cup

The Colorado Avalanche have started the party of the year in Denver. Their Stanley Cup win has the Mile High City in a tizzy
2 days ago
Avalanche take Game 3 and are one win from finals, but suffer huge loss