The Edmonton Oilers, on the brink of NHL playoff elimination, must try to save their season without left wing Evander Kane, who was suspended one game Sunday by the league.
The 30-year-old Canadian star, the top goal scorer in this year’s playoffs with 13, was disciplined for boarding Colorado center Nazem Kadri in Saturday’s third game of the Western Conference final at Edmonton.
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Kane will miss Monday’s fourth game of the best-of-seven series, which the Avalanche lead 3-0 after winning 4-2 on Saturday to move to the brink of a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
Colorado, however, might have to try and win the trophy without Kadri, who has six goals and eight assists in 13 playoff games.
Only 66 seconds into game three, Kane was whistled for a five-minute major penalty for slamming into Kadri from behind and knocking him into the boards.
Kadri, who spent several minutes on the ice being treated by a trainer before being helped to the dressing room, is out for the rest of the series with an undisclosed injury.
“He’s out. He’ll be out for the series at least, if not longer,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “The hit, it’s the most dangerous play in hockey. He puts him in headfirst from behind, eight feet from the boards.”
Kane said the injuring blow was not intentional.
“I was just coming in on the backcheck,” Kane said. “Puck went wide, kind of dribbled into the corner. I know he likes to reverse hit. I was just trying to get a bump on him, that’s really all I did.
“Unfortunately, he went into the boards awkwardly and hurt his hands. But that was unfortunate.”