The Avalanche have a chance to close out their first-round series against the Predators Monday night, but they will have to do it with their starting goaltender in net.
After leaving Game 3 with an eye injury, Darcy Kuemper is "doing better", but it will be Pavel Francouz in net for Game 4, according to coach Jared Bednar.
COL coach Jared Bednar said today Pavel Francouz starts in goal, with Justus Annunen as backup. Darcy Kuemper "doing well" but eye still swollen.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 9, 2022
On Saturday, the toe of Ryan Johansen's stick got caught in Kuemper's mask and hit the goaltender in the eye. He left the game and did not return.
Darcy Kuemper was forced to leave the ice after Ryan Johansen's stick accidentally got through his mask and into the right eye area.— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 7, 2022
Pavel Francouz has come on in Kuemper's place. pic.twitter.com/9dIBwaYLMY
This image from @tennessean photographer @Andrew_Nelles shows why Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper left the ice following an inadvertent stick through his mask from #Preds Ryan Johansen https://t.co/s2xwvRZHAcpic.twitter.com/pXgY9zpiRX— Tennessean (@Tennessean) May 7, 2022
Pavel Francouz came in to replace Kuemper, making nine saves on 10 shots en route to Colorado's 7-3 victory in Game 3.
After the game Saturday, Bednar said Kuemper was dealing with "some swelling" but didn't believe the injury was serious. Yesterday, the coach said Kuemper was potentially "an option" for Monday's contest, but the swelling is still there.
The 32-year-old is in his first year with the Avalanche. He had a sensational regular season in Denver during the regular season, going 37-12-4 with a 2.54 GAA and a .921 SV%.
During the 2022 postseason, he has allowed just four goals on 61 shots, grabbing wins in Game 1 and Game 2.
Who will be the Avalanche's goalie if Kuemper can't play?
With Kuemper is unable to return for Game 4, Colorado will turn to backup Francouz.
The 31-year-old made 15 starts during the regular season, compiling a record of 15-5-1 with a 2.55 GAA and a .916 SV%.
In his career, he's made five starts in the playoffs with seven appearances, including the game on Saturday. He has a record of 3-4-0, a GAA of 3.20 and a SV% of .893.
"We’re hopeful on (Kuemper), for sure, but if (Francouz) is our guy, we’re ready to go to battle for him," defenseman Devon Toews said after the Game 3 win.
What time is Game 4 of the Avalanche-Predators series?
Colorado has a chance at a first-round sweep as the team takes a 3-0 series lead into Game 4.
Puckdrop is set for 9:30 p.m. ET on Monday.
Monday, May 9
|Game||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV channel (U.S.)||TV channel (Canada)|
|Game 4||Predators vs. Avalanche||9:30 p.m.||ESPN||SN1|