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The Colorado Avalanche took a 3-1 series lead over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night as Nazem Kadri, who was the target of racist death threats on social media after colliding with Blues goalie Jordan Binnington in Game 3, scored a hat trick to lead the Avs to a 6-3 victory.
The Blues took an early lead in the first period, going up 1-0 but Kadri maintained composure amid an onslaught of boos from the home crowd and Colorado would return in the second period to score four unanswered goals – three within just two minutes.
Colorado Avalanche’s Nazem Kadri celebrates after scoring during Game 4 of the playoff series against the Blues Monday, May 23, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
“I wanted to come out tonight and really put a mark on this game, especially after what happened,” Kadri told reporters after the game. “I tried to do that as best as possible. Sometimes you’ve got to be patient and you’ve got to wait. I was able to strike early in the second period and was able to get the mojo going.”
St. Louis drew two minor penalties for shoving Kadri after the 3-1 turnaround and despite not being able to capitalize on the 5-on-3 power play, Kadri scored again to give his team a three-goal lead.
“For me, I’ll take all the punches I can and convert on the power play,” he said.
The Blues managed to get within one goal of the Avs but another goal by Kadri and an empty-netter by Mikko Rantanen in the third period would end any chance of a comeback.
Blues’ David Perron handles the puck as Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper and Nazem Kadri defend during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup playoff series Monday, May 23, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Binnington left Saturday’s game in the first period with a lower-body injury and is now out of the playoffs after his collision with Kadri. During a post-game interview, a water bottle was thrown at him, with reports pointing to Binnington as the one who threw it.
In the aftermath, Kadri received racial death threats on social media, prompting heightened security at the arena on Monday night.
Kadri didn’t take the heckling personally though, adding that there’s a difference between heckling and actual hate.
Fans react after a goal by Colorado Avalanche’s Nazem Kadri against the Blues Monday, May 23, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson))
“I know that they’re booing me and what-not, but that’s what being a fan is,” he explained. “As a home team and a home player, you want the fans on your side and heckling the other team, as long as it’s within the guidelines. I’ve got no issues with that and I know what was said isn’t a reflection on every single fan in St. Louis. I understand that and I want to make that clear. But for those that wasted their time sending messages like that, I feel sorry for them.”
Colorado will host St. Louis on Wednesday in Game 5 on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.