Burakovksy could play for Avalanche in Game 5 of the Finals against Lightning


DENVER– Andre Burakovsky could play for the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.

The forward took part in morning practice Friday, stepping in and out of the ice a number of times. He’s missed the last two games and is day to day after leaving Colorado’s 7-0 Game 2 win on Saturday early in the second period after being hit in the hand by a shot from the Lightning defenseman. Victor Hedman.

“He’s a possibility for tonight,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said.

The Avalanche host Game 5 at the Ball Arena (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS). They lead the best-of-7 series 3-1 and can win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2001 with a win on Friday.

[RELATED: Stanley Cup Final coverage | Stanley Cup Final schedule]

Burakovsky scored in overtime in Colorado’s 4-3 Game 1 win, then had a goal and an assist in Game 2 before being injured. He stayed in Denver to skate and get treatment while the Avalanche were in Tampa, where they lost 6-2 to the Lightning in Game 3 and won 3-2 in overtime in Game 4. He has eight points (three goals, five assists) in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games after posting an NHL career-high 61 points (22 goals, 39 assists) in 80 regular season games.

“I mean, he was playing really well before he came out,” the Avalanche forward said. J.T. Compher said. “He plays with a lot of speed and skill and is great at getting into the area and creating scoring chances. Then he’s got a hell of a shot. If he’s able to go there, we’d love to. Otherwise, that’s what we’ve had to deal with all through the playoffs, just the next guy that comes along.”

Video: [email protected], Gm1: Burakovsky buries the short side pass

If Burakovsky returns, it will be the second time in as many games the Avalanche have had a key forward back in the lineup. Nazem Kadri came back to score the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 4 on Wednesday after undergoing surgery for a hand injury he suffered in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Edmonton Oilers June 4. Kadri led the Avalanche with a career-high 87 NHL points (28 goals, 29 assists) in 71 regular-season games and has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 14 playoff games.

Bednar said the plan Friday was to win the game, not to focus on winning the Stanley Cup.

“We’ve been preaching this since day one, what do we need to do to be successful? Our guys clearly know what it is, now you have to go and execute it at an important time,” he said. “It doesn’t change anything for us. We’ll break the game down into five-minute segments, focus on those things and go into attack mode.”

The Avalanche players said they would look to soothe their nerves and try to get off to a quick start against the Lightning.

“I mean, you try to treat it like another day, but you’re going to think about different things that haven’t been there all year,” the Avalanche defenseman said. Bowen Byram said. “But you just have to stick to your routine, do what you did every other day when you came to the rink. Just make sure you prepare to play your best tonight.”

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