Kadri under spotlight

After a London Knights goal Tuesday, Nazem Kadri scuffles with Cody McNaughton of the Guelph Storm...

After a London Knights goal Tuesday, Nazem Kadri scuffles with Cody McNaughton of the Guelph Storm and earns an unsportsmanlike penalty. (MIKE HENSEN, The London Free Press)

RYAN PYETTE, The London Free Press

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

Nazem Kadri heard the boos rain down on him in his own rink.

And if he had been sitting up in the John Labatt Centre stands Tuesday instead of in the penalty box while Guelph's Taylor Beck scored the Game 3 winner with 36.6 seconds left to lift the Storm back into this series?

"I didn't disagree with them," the London Knights star forward said. "I would've (booed), too."

Kadri showed up at practice Wednesday wearing a red Spider-Man shirt and his grey jogging pants pulled up to his knees.

After spinning a web of frustration around Guelph the first two-plus games, nasty Naz had a momentary Hulk-like lapse of rage by taking a run at Guelph defender Sam Lofquist with little more than a minute to go in a tied contest.

"I haven't seen it yet but I'm pretty sure I will," the Toronto Maple Leafs first rounder said. "I do want to watch it. I want to see what happened.

"I wasn't trying to check him in the head. I saw him with his head down and I was trying to finish my hit."

After the defeat, Kadri booed the referees in his own way.

"I said a couple of things but nothing too bad," he said.

The refs booed back by issuing him a misconduct.

The boos have been bountiful for No. 91. He was jeered every time he touched the puck during Game 2 at the Sleeman Centre.

The Knights just hope Kadri, with eight points in the three games, bounces back with a positive vengeance.

"Discipline is a huge key," London assistant coach Jacques Beaulieu said. "You don't want to take penalties because it gives the other team opportunities on the power play and Guelph has a good one. You can't do that and we saw a great example of what can happen (Tuesday) night.

"We don't know what to expect but we'll see this team's true colours. We don't have a ton of playoff experience on this roster."

And the guy with the most -- Kadri -- was the one who reacted in the way he shouldn't. He's entrusted to lead the Knights to the next round.

"There were a lot of things that happened in the game that led up to that moment," he said.

Star players are expected to turn the other cheek. Don't get sucked in. But after 58 minutes of being hooked, slashed and tripped, it's never that simple.

Back in the 2006 playoffs, London's David Bolland had been routinely racking up hat tricks before being suspended for giving Owen Sound's Mike Angelidis a cup kick.

Corey Perry, in one of the more memorable moments from the unforgettable 2004-05 season, dropped the mitts and fought Kitchener's Mike Richards in star-on-star style.

Great theatre, but what about risk? What if Richards popped Perry and did serious damage to his dance partner?

These guys are good because they play the game with a passion that, at times, borders on personal obsession.

And the best skaters translate losses into motivation.

"Guelph's a good team," Kadri said, "but we want to take them out of the series again. I think this whole team has a lot to prove. We've been flying under the radar all year. But we are where we are and we can't forget that we're still up right now.

"They won and feel good about themselves but we have another chance to take that from them."

The Knights are not, Beaulieu said, in panic mode.

"We still outchanced them 19-12 in Game 3," he said. "If they outchanced us 19-10 or something like that, we'd be worried but they aren't. We just have to tighten up in the neutral zone and defensively. We need to get pucks around (Guelph goalie) Brandon Foote. He seems to be having some trouble when we do that. It's what we need if we're going to score more than three or four goals."

That's Kadri's speciality as puck carrier extraordinaire. He's one guy who has to show up for Game 4.

--- --- ---

Knights vs. Storm

London leads best-of-seven OHL Western Conference quarterfinal series 2-1

Game 4: Thursday, 7 p.m. in Guelph

Game 5: Friday, 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre

E-mail ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca or follow Ryanpyette on Twitter.


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