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Avs Forwards Continue to Get Healthy

Nazem Kadri could return to game action on Wednesday

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

CENTENNIAL, Colo.--After almost two months with multiple forwards out of the lineup with injury, the Colorado Avalanche is close to having its offensive core intact.

Nazem Kadri was back to being a full participant at practice on Tuesday after he missed three outings with a lower-body injury. He could return to game action on Wednesday when the Avs host the Philadelphia Flyers.

"Everyone is starting to get healthy up front, even Naz, full practice today, so that is a positive sign for tomorrow," said head coach Jared Bednar. "We will see how he gets through today. We are starting to get there. We got to get healthy on the backend now, but I feel like we are getting closer, knock on wood that we don't lose someone again tomorrow."

Through 27 games this year, Kadri has recorded 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) and has won a team-high 57 percent of his faceoffs while averaging 17:51 of ice time per game as a reliable second-line center.

His injury was something that he had been dealing with earlier this season, but it was irritated in his last contest on Wednesday at the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was also his first game back in Toronto since the Avs acquired the center from the Leafs in a six-piece trade on July 1.  

"It was a previous thing, just kind of tweaked it a little bit in the Toronto game," said Kadri. "I woke up the next day, and I just didn't really feel that great. Obviously at this point in the season it is better to take some rest days and fully heal because down the stretch that is when you want to be playing your games."

If Kadri is able to return on Wednesday, Colin Wilson would be the only Colorado forward that is out with an injury. Wilson is out indefinitely as he is scheduled to have surgery to help fix his lower-body injury that he suffered at practice on Oct. 29.

Despite already having 95 man-games lost due to injury, the Avalanche is second in the Western Conference with a 19-8-3 record and 41 points.

"Anytime, regardless of where you are at in the standings, you always want to have all your players available to you," said Bednar. "We haven't had that luxury here for a while but guys have been doing a nice job, we've been carving out wins. It would be nice to get everyone back together and let us start growing as a group because guys have been back from trips and we haven't been together for quite some time now. So, it will be nice to get everyone together and try to get on a little bit of a roll here."

The Avalanche could also have goaltender Philipp Grubauer back for the game against Philadelphia. He missed the previous outing versus the Flames with a lower-body ailment after he left Saturday's game at 17:25 of the first period. He was able to finish that matchup at the Boston Bruins as the backup goaltender though.

"It is hard to say, it just depends on how he felt today in practice," Bednar said about if Grubauer will be available on Wednesday. "I will catch up with (head athletic trainer) Matt (Sokolowski) and we will probably catch up again in the morning. If he is not 100 percent, we will probably go with [Pavel Francouz] again. If he is then we will make a decision, but that probably won't come until tomorrow just based on the situation."

MAKAR SKATING

Rookie defenseman Cale Makar skated on his own prior to the session in a red, non-contact jersey while he recovers from his upper-body injury.

Makar missed his first professional game on Monday after he was hurt early in the third period of Colorado's 4-1 win at the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

"He has got an upper-body injury, so we wanted to get him on the ice, he has had a few days off now," Bednar said of Makar. "He has been feeling better the last couple days. He will just get reevaluated every 24 hours, and we will just make a decision on when he can get back in the lineup. Doubtful for tomorrow."

The Calgary, Alberta, native leads all rookies and is tied for second among all league defensemen in scoring with 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists) in 29 outings.

PRACTICE LINE COMBINATIONS

Forwards
92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 96 Mikko Rantanen
95 Andre Burakovsky - 91 Nazem Kadri - 72 Joonas Donskoi
11 Matt Calvert - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 13 Valeri Nichushkin
83 Matt Nieto - 37 J.T. Compher - 17 Tyson Jost - 81 Vladislav Kamenev

Defensemen
16 Nikita Zadorov - 49 Samuel Girard
27 Ryan Graves - 28 Ian Cole
48 Calle Rosen - 44 Mark Barberio

Goaltenders
31 Philipp Grubauer
39 Pavel Francouz

Did Not Practice: Erik Johnson (lower body), Cale Makar (upper body), Colin Wilson (lower body)

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