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Kadri returns after undergoing thumb surgery, 4-game absence

Justin Edmonds / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Colorado Avalanche got a key player back for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night.

Nazem Kadri was inserted into the lineup after sitting out nearly five full contests. His return is somewhat of a surprise after it was reported he'd likely miss the rest of the playoffs following thumb surgery.

The center hadn't suited up since Game 3 of the Western Conference Final versus the Edmonton Oilers. He departed 37 seconds into that tilt and didn't return after Evander Kane boarded him.

Kadri was ruled out for the remainder of the conference final and underwent thumb surgery after Game 3. That series lasted one more game as the Avalanche swept the Oilers.

He's been a vital cog in Colorado's multi-pronged attack all season, and that's carried over to the playoffs when he's been healthy.

Kadri has notched six goals and eight assists in 13 postseason games this spring. He produced a hat trick in Game 4 of Round 2 against the St. Louis Blues after receiving racist threats following an incident with opposing netminder Jordan Binnington.

The 31-year-old established career highs with 59 assists and 87 points during the regular season. He also set a new personal best for average ice time at the NHL level by nearly one minute at 19:14.

Kadri is in his third campaign with the Avalanche, who acquired him in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs in July 2019.

Kadri returns after undergoing thumb surgery, 4-game absence
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