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Kadri Game for the Ages; Avalanche on Verge of Conference Final

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Nazem Kadri
Jeff Roberson/AP

ST. LOUIS – To quote a late, great baseball announcer from this historic midwestern city: “I don’t believe what I just saw.” If Jack Buck ever called a hockey game, that’s what he might have said too.

In the previous 48 hours, Nazem Kadri put up with racist threats, a water bottle toss from the opposing goalie in a hallway, disparaging remarks from the opposing head coach and 18,000 Blues fans booing him and giving him their middle finger. And, he just flipped it right back at them, with the first road hat trick in Avalanche playoff history.

Final from Enterprise Center: Avalanche 6, Blues 3. The Avs can close out the Blues with a win in Game 5 Wednesday night at Ball Arena. One more win in the next three games, and the Avs would advance to their first Western Conference final in 20 years.

“I needed some fuel,” Kadri said, after his amazing performance. “I was pretty upset the last couple days.”

Kadri said one of the things that upset him most was the “You just have to look at his reputation” remark from Blues coach Craig Berube following Game 3 in which he collided with Blues coach Jordan Binnington, who was hurt on the play.

“Guess he’s never heard of bulletin-board material,” Kadri said.

Kadri, I’m told, received round-the-clock protection from St. Louis police from Game 3 on, including an officer stationed outside his hotel room. The Avs received police escorts to and from the game, and there were added police stationed throughout the arena and in the stands. The police became involved when threats were made against Kadri not only online, but at least one was made to the police themselves that was deemed credible enough to raise concerns.

“I was able to read those messages,” Kadri said. “They were very extreme. Racial, threatening – all that good stuff. (The police) did a great job of making me feel safe, and I really appreciate it.”

Kadri told TNT after the game, “Unfortunately, I’ve been dealing with that a long time. I just try to keep moving forward. I know that doesn’t reflect every fan in St. Louis. For for those that hate, I feel sorry for them.”

Kadri scored two goals in the second period and one in the third. The last one, at 9:38 of the third, gave the Avs a 5-3 lead, after the Blues made things hairy with two late second-period power-play goals to cut a 4-1 Avs lead to 4-3. But the Avs came out with a great third period, re-establishing their checking game and giving the Blues nothing at 5-on-5. Kadri snuck a wrist shot over the glove of Blues goalie Ville Husso to quiet the building down again. Kadri gave some “how do you like me now?” looks to the crowd.

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“I had to rub it in,” Kadri said with a laugh.

Former Blue Erik Johnson rubbed it in a little too, with a big goal at 2:44 of the second to tie the game 1-1. The Avs, to that point, had been dominating shots-wise, but couldn’t break through on Husso. But the Johnson goal began a cascade of four goals in under five minutes. Kadri got two, including one right after the Blues had killed off a 5-on-3 for a full two minutes – after Blues forwards David Perron and Pavel Buchnevich cross-checked and jumped Kadri from behind. Right as the Blues crowd was getting really fired up with the 5-on-3 kill, Kadri sat them all down again with a one-timer past Husso.

“A couple chintzy calls, and they got a couple,” said Johnson, who was assessed one of the penalties. “But we stayed with our game. And I just want to say how proud we are of Naz, after going through all that crap. No human being should have to receive that kind of treatment, especially over a hockey game.”

Said Kadri, “Stupid penalties that we cashed in on. Lose your cool, we’ll make you pay. … I wanted to make a mark on this game.”

He certainly did, said coach Jared Bednar.

“I’m really proud of him, especially with what he’s gone through the last 48 hours. Our message was ‘stay focused, we’re here to win a hockey game.’ The one guy I was a little worried about was Naz,” Bednar said.

But, Bednar said, Kadri showed poise throughout the two days. In the end, he walked away a winner, in more ways than one.

The Avs hope they don’t come back to this city for several months now. There is still one game left to win, and, not to get all Debbie Downer here but: the Avs have blown several 3-1 series leads in the past. Now is not the time to get overconfident.

But, it’s OK to feel pretty good about things.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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dp10

From “I got my stanley cup rings plugged in my ears” to “I just needed some fuel..” Kadri is the man! If they keep it up, this could be defining moment!

idavsfan

Glad you lost your bet tonight way to work that Dater jinx – great game from Naz – keep it up boys

Last edited 1 month ago by idavsfan
Karl Keen

Bet on them again please to win game 5!

sjavsfan

Way to go Kadri!! Avs fans are so proud!!

Cody Danko

That was indeed a game for the ages. With everything that went on from the water bottle throw to the death threats to the police being stationed outside his hotel room door, he came out and delivered a legendary playoff performance that will be talked about for decades when people are talking Avalanche playoff memories.

That’s when you know you’re getting close too when you realize that this ranks up there with stuff from the glory days and nothing quite like this has really happened between the gap in WCF appearances.

Matt Briggle

Great night for the Avs, and an even better one for Naz. Yes, the hat trick and four point game were amazing, but he really won the night with both of his post game interviews. What an amazing person he is. He knows his own reputation. He knows the work he has put in this year to try and start changing that reputation. He knows the uphill battle he faces as a minority with that reputation in a still mostly white sport. He sure as hell knows all about what has happened in the last 48 hours. Then he took… Read more »

Ryan Krueger

Avs won’t blow a 3-1 lead . It will be fun whoever comes out of Alberta.

Bry Phillips

this playoffs, especially this series, has been a MOVIE so far. reaching this point, one win away from the conference finals is what dreams in my Avs jammies are made of. Bednar, you are not only the Avs Coach but you are “Coach Avs”. it boggles my mind how you can have any haters but they are obviously just looking for attention at this point for broadcasting any vibe other than youre the best coach we’ve ever had. Naz, i would give up BOTH of my kidneys to find a way to keep you next season and beyond. Colorado loves… Read more »

John Mauss

Well said on all counts, Bry!

Aaron Rud

Dialysis is expensive.

Donald Victory

If they keep it going MacKidder might just win something after nine seasons. Sulkie? Possible. Stanley Cup, possible. Good for him, with minimal help from him!

Charlie Anderson

Well said bro. Except that movies/TV drama tends to be contrived and cheesy. Hockey playoffs are legit drama, unscripted 😀

Thor's Hammer

Dumb turnover by Toews allowing the first goal. As I said before, Toews needs help in the corners and needs to be separated from Makar with a stay-at-home partner. Dumbnar. And a Miakko whif on a blue line shot almost costs the team early. 
MacTurnover was pitiful. His defense is garbage and he is the new LazyDog. His happystick is a liability to the team as is his ‘me first’

Tim Apple

Poor Donnie. You just can’t seem to find any happiness. Maybe you should try A1 on your overcooked steak or switching to regular Coke in the morning? Or you could have a covfefe deficiency.

JD16

A hug perhaps. I’m not a hugger, but I’ll take the bullet.

gulol

Can’t wait to see your expert critique of the team, complete with your awesome nicknames, if they win the cup. Sure hope you aren’t paying money to watch such an embarrassment of a team…

Gary Batman

Devon is not a physcial d-man. More finesse as is Markar most of the time. I agree a better pairing could be implemented. Good point.

Last edited 1 month ago by Gary Batman
Tim Apple

Believe me. Replying to your own posts with your latest sock puppet creation? Sad.

jensen

Amazing. Kadri played very well and answered in the right way.

GWood

Legendary. Loved that game, Kaz dunked on them HARD, wow. Talk about maximum satisfaction. Perron diving at Kari and cross checking him on the right arm like that? Talk about intent to injure. He only got a minor for that? Wtf??? I don’t usually say a word about the refs but these guys do not deserve a paycheck. Awful performance, embarrassing.

Hoppyhacker

I’m proud to be an Aves fan – i’m confident that our leadership would not have ‘no commented’ threats to an opposing player, and I’ve loved Sakic as a ‘character’ leader. I’m really proud of the comments of our players through all of this. I became a hockey fan growing up in St. Louis playing pond hockey, rooting for the Blues. Moved to Colorado before the Nordiques moved here, and switched allegiance. Growing up in St. Louis, it was a terribly racially biased town – and while there are good people there, and bad people in Colorado, I’ve enjoyed the… Read more »

dk

What a game, and what a response from Kadri! After the abuse from the blueser players on the ice and their deplorable fans off the ice… Kadri puts together an embarrassing highlight reel. Poopy Diaper Binner should throw more water bottles at him.

Hatty, 4 points. 100 SH%. Kadri’s statline is unreal.

Richard Trujillo

Championship runs in any sport have “legendary moments” that will be remembered for the ages. The Avs may have just had their first one.

Sakic needs to find a way to keep Kadri following this season. Maybe figure out someone who is willing to take on Rantanen’s albatross of a contract. Been saying it for years that Rantanen and his contract is what will make keeping this team together impossible.

Donald Victory

Agreed. 9.25 million reasons to find a suitor. That could bring two or three uper tier forwards to other lines. Burky too. That is almost $15M in top free agent lignings. Buffalo sounds good for Ranter, and send Burky back to DC.

Gary Batman

Let’s close this out Wednesday. Attention to detail defensive focus, and the offense will come! And Baednar will graduate finally to the WCF!

Karl Keen

Let’s close the deal next game boys!

Perron apparently had a license to do whatever he wanted last night, whether on the score sheet, or with his penalties. Committed at least three in the 3rd period alone plus should have been given a 5 minute misconduct at least for the pathetic hit on Kadri when he was already down. The NHL just continually wants violence over skill.

Trolling the Blues’ fans so hard on The Athletic right now.

Gary Batman

I never troll I hve too much to do running the league and meeting JB. What is the link?

Donald Victory
anavsfan86

So looking forward to cheering this team on! Way to go boys! Naz I hope you and your family are well – keep setting the example! So much love!!!!

Last edited 1 month ago by anavsfan86
Karl Keen

On another note, what is the Blues’ fans absolute belief that Binnington was some type of savior to the degree of Vasky, Roy, Brodeur? I went back and looked at their schedule when they started their hot streak to finish the season (March 28). Husso started 12 of those 18 games and finished with a 9-3 record. Binnington did go 5-1 but the one loss was when the Avs shellacked them towards the end of the season. Husso started the playoffs by posting a shut out, but now he is a scrub goalie that gives them no chance?! They seem… Read more »

Bob Neal

Am I the only fan that felt comfortable with a one goal lead going into the 3rd period? I felt that if the Av’s could get through the first 5 minutes of the third they could win a one goal game. Reminds me of the 13 game stretch toward the end of the regular season. Good to see JJ back on defense and them maintain solid defensive shape the entire game. I loved JJ’s smile at the end of the game. He certainly deserves to be playing. The TNT commentators were great last night. Missthenet (MTN) got into a conversation… Read more »

Jason Ackerman

Same, man… I wasn’t scared even a little bit with a one goal lead. I didn’t necessarily predict we’d score 2 more, but the way we were checking and not allowing the Blues clean entry into the zone, I just wasn’t nervous at all. Maybe I should have been… nah, it was all good.

Mike Fisk

I felt confident, as long as they were playing 5 on 5. The PK right now is a concern.

Bob Mehoff

Solid performance for the most part up until 4-1 became 4-3 due to really dumb penalties against the Lanche. TNT announcers said it too, so no haters please.

Good recovery after stupidity. Hopefully Condor and Helmer get it they ahould by now.

Close this out almost a sweep again if they do.

Karl Keen

Just saw some of the messages Kadri received online. Wow. No going back to St. Louis guys, just beat the tar out of them in game 5.

slowpokeczech

Shakespearean-style justice.

Rich

Dater – in your opinion does this ridiculous situation with Kadri change the possibly of him resigning with the Avs?

Art Schwadron

I, along with everyone else, had felt like we just couldn’t afford to keep him. In the past I felt like we’ve gotten bit by guys like Stasny who played great in the year before they negotiated a new contract. However I’m starting to think that maybe we can’t afford to not keep Kadri. I also think that he should center the first line with Nuke and maybe Landy next game. I think it’s time to shuffle McKinnon and Rantanen down the line up a ways.

Charlie Anderson

You’re the best AD. You are the best Kadri/Bednar/Avs/Sakic. You are the best everyone on here who isn’t one of the Trolls, great comments all you guys (other than the troll). I’d rather lose to the Blues than be them even if they won. I don’t care that much about winning and losing as long as I don’t have to try to support someone like Craig “Toxicity Itself” Brubue and his gang of thugs.

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