Every player, regardless of how talented they are or what sport they play, will go through slumps at one time or another. It’s inevitable.
That doesn’t make it any easier and the longer one goes without producing, the pressure mounts along with the mental strain.
It was no different for Avalanche center Nazem Kadri
, who went 19 games -- a full six weeks -- without scoring a goal until Monday night when he finally broke through.
His goal with 3:39 left in the third period in San Jose forged a 4-4 tie, brought the Avalanche back from a 4-2 deficit and set the stage for Andre Burakovsky's
overtime goal for an unlikely 5-4 win.
Here’s my NHL.com GAME RECAP.
“That felt good, it felt good for sure,” Kadri said after the game. “The time of the game, obviously we needed a goal. The guys kept encouraging me to shoot it and finally one went in.”
The Avalanche will need Kadri, who has 11 goals and 18 assists in 50 games, to produce the way he has in the past, move back to the second line he was acquired to anchor and help the Avalanche continue to make a run at first place in the West Division in the final six regular-season games.
And produce the way he did in last year’s playoffs when he had nine goals and nine assists in 15 games.
"He is definitely a big player for us, a player that we really need and rely on a lot,” Burakovsky said. “Just to be able to see him get it to go in and get such a big goal for us when he has been having a little bit of unluck lately and the puck hasn't really gone in for him, it was really nice to see it go in for him and I was pumped for him for sure."
The win moved the Avalanche two points behind the division-leading Vegas Golden Knights with one game in hand. It also kept them two points in front of the Minnesota Wild, who rallied for a 6-5 win against Vegas on Monday.
The Avalanche, who had lost all eight previous games in regulation when trailing after two periods, overcame 3-1 and 4-2 deficits against the Sharks, who were officially eliminated from playoff contention with the defeat.
“We knew what we had to do," Kadri said. "At the end of the day, it definitely wasn’t our best game, but certainly it’s a character win to overcome a two-goal deficit in the third period, get one late, cash in in OT. Definitely a pesky win for us.”
Kadri’s goal – he scored short side from a sharp angle – was the kind he and the Avalanche hope will get him going down the stretch and into the playoffs.
The Avalanche can’t continue to rely on Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen
and Gabriel Landeskog
to carry the offensive load.
“It (was) huge for our team to get that goal, obviously, a big goal for Naz personally because he’s been working hard, he’s been paying attention to his checking game, doing the right things and managing the puck properly,” coach Jared Bednar
“He just hasn’t had any luck with pucks going in. His scoring chances are (improving), he’s getting (to be) more a part of our offense recently. It still (wasn’t) going in for him, so to be able to get a goal like that hopefully sparks him. I thought he competed hard and did the right things, working hard in the faceoff circle.
“A lot of positives to his game. No bigger goal than that one to break out of his slump. Hopefully he gets some confidence out of that. Without that goal we’re in trouble.”
Goalie Devan Dubnyk
was added to the NHL's COVID-19 protocol list after testing positive Monday and will quarantine at his San Jose home for at least two weeks. The plan is for him to drive to Denver when he’s eligible to rejoin the team.
will be the backup in the interim.