The Avalanche’s two injured forwards are both inching toward a potential return to the lineup in the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Second-line center Nazem Kadri skated on his own before Friday’s team practice at Ball Arena and fourth-line winger Andrew Cogliano was a full participant. Kadri is presumably doubtful to play in Saturday’s Game 2 but Cogliano could be questionable.
Kadri, who is recovering from a surgically repaired right thumb, is limited to light stick-handling work. Cogliano, who had surgery on his right hand, was passing and shooting with the main group.
Kadri is Colorado’s fourth-leading scorer this postseason with 14 points (six goals), despite missing the last two games. He began his on-ice recovery by skating without a stick.
“He’s added a stick to it, so for the last couple of days he’s been getting better but I don’t have an update on him besides that,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said of Kadri. “Cogliano is kind of progressing the same way as well. He felt good enough to join the group today. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow.”
Wingers Gabe Landeskog and Andre Burakovsky — the Game 1 overtime hero — did not practice Friday. They both have been taking maintenance days for precautionary reasons and are expected to play in Game 2.
Mental lapse. Avalanche top-pair defensive partners Devon Toews and Cale Makar spoke side-by-side from the podium Friday. Makar was asked about Tampa Bay’s second goal in Game 1 in which he and Toews were defending against Lightning top-line wingers Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov.
The forwards criss-crossed inside the Avalanche’s blue line and Palat’s back-door tap-in capped a beautifully played give-and-go.
“We had a pretty loose gap right off the bat and they crossed,” Makar said. “Normally I feel like we’re at a pretty good gap, we’re staying with our guys over the line, but since we had a loose gap it was a little bit tough. … I knew (Kucherov) was going to go back to (Palat) if he got around Taser. I was just kind of lazy to get there … maybe a little bit of mental lapse, just in the game there just for myself, personally. That can’t happen.”
The Lightning’s top line includes center Steven Stamkos. The trio was limited to a combined seven shots in Game 1, and just one from Kucherov. So besides the Palat goal, Toews and Makar and the rest of the Avs did a nice job against the line.
No Cup in Russia. Heading into Wednesday’s Game 1, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the Stanley Cup will not go to Russia this summer because of its invasion of Ukraine.
Tampa Bay has three Russian players (Kucherov, defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and Colorado has one (forward Valeri Nichushkin). So none of those players will be allowed to take the Cup to their homeland if their team wins it.
“That is the first I’ve heard of it,” Avs forward J.T. Compher said of the Cup ban in Russia. “We’re just focused on trying to win the thing.”
“We’ll win it, and then we’ll decide — then we can talk about it,” added defenseman Josh Manson.
Footnotes. Minus Landeskog and Burakovsky, the Avalanche’s top-two lines on Friday featured center Nathan MacKinnon between Nichushkin and Mikko Rantanen and wingers Artturi Lehkonen and Logan O’Connor with Darren Helm. The other lines: Alex Newhook-Compher-Nicolas Aube-Kubel; Cogliano-Nico Sturm-Jayson Megna/Jacob MacDonald. The defensive pairings were the same as Game 1, with Kurtis MacDermid and Ryan Murray as the extra two outside the six in the lineup.