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Stanley Cup playoffs: Kadri hat trick leads Avalanche past Blues in Game 4

May 24 (UPI) -- Center Nazem Kadri logged a hat-trick to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of their Stanley Cup playoff matchup, helping his team secure a 3-1 lead in the second-round series.

Kadri scored twice in the second and added another goal in the third period of the 6-3 victory Monday at Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

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Kadri, who the Avalanche said was a victim of recent threats on social media, said he used the situation as fuel to perform well. St. Louis police and the NHL are investigating those threats.

"I guess I needed some fuel," Kadri told reporters Monday. "I was pretty upset the last couple of days, but it is what it is. We got the win. That's what we wanted."

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Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin and defenseman Bowen Byram logged two assists apiece. Blues left wing David Perron scored twice in the loss.

Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper totaled 17 saves. Blues net minder Ville Husso logged 31 saves. The winner of the best-of-seven game series will face the Calgary Flames or Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference finals. The Oilers lead that series 2-1.

"We got out-skated for most of the game, I don't know why," Blues manager Craig Berube said. "They out-skated us, got after every loose puck and we lost a lot of puck battles."

Perron lit the lamp for his first score 5:07 into the game. Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson answered with a game-tying goal 2:44 into the second. Kadri netted his first score less than two minutes later.

The Avalanche won a face off on the defensive end to spark the score. Nichushkin recovered the puck and fired a cross-ice pass from back near the circles to between the blue lines.

Kadri received the pass, twisted around the defense and flew up the ice near the right boards. He then used a backhanded wrist shot to beat Husso.

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Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews pushed the lead to two scores 19 seconds later. Kadri found the net for his second goal 7:37 into the second period.

Defenseman Cole Makar fired an initial shot, which was blocked by Husso. Byram got the rebound in front of the net and slipped a pass to his right to Kadri, who stood inside the right circle. Kadri finished the play with a one-timer shot between Husso's glove side and the right post.

Perron and Blues left wing Pavel Buchnevich scored on power plays in the final three minutes of the period, which cut the deficit to 4-3.

Kadri provided insurance and completed his hat trick with a score 9:38 into the third. Nichushkin poked the puck loose from the Blues defense on that play. Kadri recovered the possession and flicked a wrist shot into a very narrow angle between Husso's right glove and right knee to find the net.

Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen scored on an empty net with two seconds remaining for the final goal of the game.

Game 5 will start at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday at Ball Arena in Denver.

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