Nazem Kadri returning to Avalanche lineup for Game 4 of Stanley Cup Final

Colorado Avalanche's Nazem Kadri celebrates after scoring during the third period in Game 4 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues Monday, May 23, 2022, in St. Louis. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

Colorado Avalanche star Nazem Kadri will make his return for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final after participating in pre-game warmups, bolstering the team's lineup in what could be a series-shaping night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Kadri, who has been sidelined since suffering a broken thumb in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the Edmonton Oilers, was a full participant during the morning skate on Wednesday — which was the next step in the recovery process.

"He’s getting better every day," Bednar said after practice. "Well, if he can do all the functions that it takes to play a hockey game and is feeling comfortable with it, he's a guy we'll put back in. He's been skating, legs feel good. It's just about managing, I guess, the pain he's dealing with."

Kadri had been skating regularly since having surgery to repair his thumb, and he added shooting to his repertoire earlier this week, though he hadn't been fully unloading heading into Wednesday, where a setback-free practice would open the door to his return.

Kadri has six goals and 14 points in 13 games during the playoffs and would immediately provide a two-way boost to the Avalanche lineup that has been forced to lean on its forward depth, especially with Andre Burakovsky set to miss a second consecutive game with what is believed to be a hand injury.

The Avalanche lead the Cup Final 2-1, and will look to set the stage for a series-clinching game on home ice with a victory in Game 4.

Live coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on Sportsnet.

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