Avs’ Kadri exits Game 3 with injury in first period

    Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri left Game 3 of the Western Conference Final with an injury after a hit from behind by Edmonton Oilers forward Evander Kane on Saturday night.

Kane was given a five-minute major for boarding after cross-checking Kadri from behind into the end boards just 1:04 into Game 3, the Oilers’ first home game of the series. Kadri was trying to control the puck in the Oilers zone. Kane put his stick across Kadri’s jersey numbers and shoved him into the boards.

Video review confirmed a five-minute major penalty for boarding. Kadri left the ice after just one shift and did not return in the second period. The Avalanche said he was still being evaluated after the hit and his status to return was questionable. The Oilers killed off the major penalty.

The loss of Kadri was a significant one. The center has 14 points in 12 games, tied for fourth on the high-powered Avalanche. That includes six goals.

J.T. Compher moved up to center the line of Mikko Rantanen and Artturi Lehkonen.

Under NHL rules, Kane could have been assessed a match penalty if there deliberate or attempted intent to injure on the play; or he could have been assessed a game misconduct penalty if the foul resulted in an injury “to the face or head of an opponent.” The officials felt Kane’s actions didn’t rise to either standard.

If this rises to the level of supplemental discipline from the NHL Department of Player Safety, Kane’s last infraction was a $5,000 fine for kneeing Sean Durzi of the LA Kings. He was last suspended in Feb. 2020, getting three games for elbowing Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neil Pionk.

Kane’s 21-game suspension last September for violating the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 protocol would not factor into any suspension for an on-ice incident.

Colorado entered Game 3 with a 2-0 series lead, and was 10-2 this postseason.

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