In his series debut, Nazem Kadri scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Colorado Avs defeated the Bolts, 3-2, in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final Wednesday.
The Avs can win their first title in 13 years on Friday in Game 5 at home.
Kadri missed four games due to a broken thumb. He participated in drills with the second power-play unit in the morning and played on the second line all game.
The goal was his seventh of the playoffs and he had 25 shifts and 18 minutes on the ice.
On Wednesday morning, Bednar was hopeful about Kadri's participation, but he didn't reveal his official return until later in the day.
Bednar was asked if Kadri would play. He's a guy we'll put back in if he can do all the things necessary to play a hockey game. His legs are feeling good after skating. I suppose it's about managing the pain he's dealing with.
After being pulled from the game in the third period, Kuemper was back in the starting net for the Avs. After allowing five goals on 22 shots, Colorado's incumbent netminder got the hook and was replaced by Pavel Francouz. He allowed two goals on 40 shots in the fourth game of the series.
Bednar said before the game that he thought he had done a good job with that. He's following up good performances with better ones. He's improved his game when we need him. He has done it for the entire season.
Kadri had surgery on his thumb after he was boarded by Evander Kane in the third game of the Western Conference finals. After skating on his own, the veteran began shooting again.
Bednar wasn't sure if Kadri would be ready for the third or fourth game of the series. It was possible because Kadri came along.
The Avs didn't have their full strength in Game 4 as they didn't have their top player up front. The big winger injured his hand in the second game of the Final and didn't make the trip. Before Kadri's injury, Burakovsky stepped in to fill the void and scored two times against the Lightning.