TAMPA, Fla. — The Avalanche could be getting some much-needed help in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, coach Jared Bednar announced Tuesday.
Forward Nazem Kadri appears to be a possibility to play against the Lightning Wednesday, after having surgery on his thumb June 6. Kadri practiced in full Tuesday during the Avalanche's optional practice.
"He’s been making some nice progress," Bednar said Tuesday. "He’s back on the ice again today. He’s going to join the guys out there for the skate right now, with some of the extras and some of the guys that want to get a little bit of work (in). He seems to be getting better every day. I believe that he is an option for us at some point here. I’m not sure how soon."
Kadri would be a big boost for the Avalanche, which now hold a 2-1 series lead after losing Monday to the Lightning. Before his injury, Kadri was one of Colorado's best players, totaling 14 points and six goals in the postseason.
How will the Colorado Avalanche's Stanley Cup Final series end?
"You've seen every day he's kind of done a little bit extra and improved," Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson said. "I'd expect him to be a definite possibility in the next couple of games."
As for Andre Burakovsky, who scored in Games 1 and 2 and is battling an injury, he has yet to make the trip to Tampa Bay and is still being evaluated.
"He’s getting some treatment back in Denver and I believe if he doesn’t skate today, he’s going to skate tomorrow," Bednar said.
Who will start in goal?
Bednar isn't tipping his hand on who will start in goal for the Avalanche in Game 4, after pulling starter Darcy Kuemper in the second period. Kuemper gave up five goals on 21 shots Monday before being replaced by Pavel Francouz.
When asked if he would go back to Kuemper in Game 4, Bednar said Tuesday, "That’s one possibility." Either way, the Avalanche still have faith in Kuemper, admitting Monday's poor performance wasn't all his fault.
"It’s a game of mistakes and I think with Darcy he's responded every time he's been pulled," Johnson said. "I think it was probably more (Bednar) wanted to give us a little bit of a jump start by pulling him and putting (Francouz) in but regardless of who plays like you've seen all playoffs both guys have stepped up in the situations that they've been asked to and whoever's in the net, we're confident in. But I expect Darcy to bounce back like he always has for most situations."