Nazem Kadri scored a hat-trick to help the Colorado Avalanche win Game 4 of their Western Conference series against the St. Louis Blues before admitting he was motivated by recent adversity.
The Avalanche, 7/5 to win the Stanley Cup in 2021/22 also won Game 3 on Saturday (5-2) which controversially saw Kadri collide with St. Louis netminder Jordan Binnington putting him out of the series with a lower-body injury.
Kadri denied any wrong, claiming defenceman Calle Rosen pushed him into the in-form Blues goalie.
During his post-game interview, an irate Binnington threw a water bottle at Kadri, and coach Craig Berube did nothing to diffuse the situation by pointing toward past suspensions in the playoffs as indicative of Kadri's guilt.
Away from the rink, the Avalanche confirmed that Kadri had been the target of "threats" and that they were working with law enforcement to investigate.
31-year-old Kadri spoke eloquently after a 6-3 Game 4 win that helped Colardo to a 3-1 series lead, saying his first playoff hat-trick was "for those who hate", and indicated that Berube's words were used as motivational "bulletin board material."
In eight playoff games this season, Kadri has scored ten points (five goals, five assists). The offensive production has carried over from a regular season which saw him register a career best 87 points and 59 assists (plus 28 goals, second most in his career).
Kadri said to the media: "People need to be aware this stuff still happens, and it’s hurtful.
"I wanted to come out tonight and really put a mark on this game. I tried to do that as best as possible.
"I was able to strike early in the second period and was able to get the mojo going, in terms of individually and as a team, so it felt amazing."