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Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz to start Game 2 vs. Oilers

May 31, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz (39) looks on in the third period against the Edmonton Oilers in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz will start against the visiting Edmonton Oilers on Thursday in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals in Denver.

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar confirmed the news on Thursday morning and noted that Game 1 starter Darcy Kuemper will be unavailable for the contest. Kuemper sustained an upper-body injury during the second period of Colorado’s 8-6 victory in the series opener on Tuesday.

Kuemper, 32, saved 13 of the 16 shots he faced before being replaced by Francouz at 7:19 of the second with his team leading 6-3. Francouz went on to stop 18 of 21 shots as the Avalanche held on for an 8-6 win.

It was the second time this postseason that Kuemper left a game. He took a stick near his eye in Game 3 of the first round against the Nashville Predators. The Avalanche swept the Predators after Francouz made 28 saves in a 5-3 win in Game 4.

Francouz, who turns 32 on Friday, posted a 15-5-1 record with a 2.55 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 21 games (18 starts) during the regular season.

Kuemper is 6-2 with a 2.65 GAA and .897 save percentage in these playoffs. He went 37-12-4 with five shutouts, a 2.54 GAA and .921 save percentage during 57 appearances (all starts) in the regular season.

–Field Level Media