Kadri could return for Avalanche against Lightning during Cup Final

TAMPA — Nazem Kadri skated with the Colorado Avalanche at an optional practice Tuesday and the center is getting closer to playing in the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“He seems to be getting better every day, so I believe he’s an option for us at some point,” Bednar said. “Not sure how soon.”

Kadri joined the Avalanche on the ice late in their morning skate prior to their 6-2 loss to the Lightning in Game 3 at Amalie Arena on Monday. He has been skating since Thursday.

Colorado leads the best-of-7 series 2-1, with Game 4 at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 pm ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).

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Kadri had surgery for a hand injury he sustained in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the Edmonton Oilers on June 4; he left at 1:06 of the first period after he was boarded by Oilers forward Evander Kanewho received a major penalty and was suspended one game.

Kadri had an NHL career-high 87 points (28 goals, 59 assists) in 71 regular-season games and 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

“You’ve seen every day he’s kind of done a little bit extra, improved,” Avalanche defenseman Eric Johnson said. “I’d expect him to be a definite possibility in the next couple of games.”

Andrei Burakovsky has yet to join Colorado in Tampa and remains day to day; The forward left in the second period of a 7-0 win in Game 2 on Saturday after being hit in the hand by a shot from Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman.

“He’s getting some treatment done back in Denver,” Bednar said. “And I believe if he doesn’t skate today, he’s going to skate tomorrow.”

Burakovsky scored in overtime for the Avalanche in a 4-3 victory in Game 1, then had a goal and assist in Game 2 before being injured. He has eight points (three goals, five assists) in 12 playoff games after he had an NHL career-high 61 points (22 goals, 39 assists) in 80 regular-season games.

“I mean, obviously those two guys are a big part of our team, but we just have to stay the course, basically,” Colorado forward Artturi Lehkonen said Tuesday. “It doesn’t matter who comes into the lineup or who goes out of the lineup. You just have to stay the course.”

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