DENVER, CO – As Nazem Kadri slammed into the boards thanks to a blind-side hit from Edmonton Oilers forward Evander Kane in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final, the shockwave of his absence hit the Colorado Avalanche like a neutron bomb.
Or, at least, it should have.
Sure, the Avalanche were in the midst of dismantling an overmatched Oilers squad when Kadri went down. They likely would have beaten them anyway. But regardless of the matchup, losing a top-six center who scored at a 110-point pace in the regular season at a crucial moment in a do-or-die Cup run would be a sucker punch from which very few teams can recover nonetheless.