Are the Avalanche preparing for life without Darcy Kuemper?
On an otherwise glorious day, when the Avalanche won 7-3 and took a commanding 3-0 lead over the Predators in their best-of-seven, first-round series, Colorado had their first dose of postseason adversity come their way. Late in the first period of Game, Darcy Kuemper was poked in the eye when Ryan Johansen’s stick knifed through the goaltender’s facemask.
Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen’s stick goes through the mask of Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper during the first period Saturday, May 7, 2022 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. Andrew Nelles / The Tenenssean #nashvillepredators #coloradoavalanche #nhl pic.twitter.com/aJQtrbcTZP
— Andrew A. Nelles (@Andrew_Nelles) May 7, 2022
It was a scary moment. Kuemper crumbled to the ice, play was stopped and the goalie left the game. He didn’t return, as backup Pavel Francouz played the rest of the way.
After the game, Jared Bednar said Kuemper’s eye was swollen, but the Avalanche’s head coach didn’t think the injury was serious. The goaltender’s availability for Game 4, however, remained in doubt.
Today, a little clarity was brought to that situation. The team provided a hint as to their plans for Monday night.
— z – Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) May 8, 2022
Annunen appeared in 48 games this season for the Eagles. He posted a 24-13-6 record, with two shutouts. The 22-year-old goaltender had a save percentage of .893.
He also played in two games for the Avalanche earlier this season. Annunen surrendered seven goals on 51 shots, posting a 1-0-1 record.
With a 3-0 lead in the series, it appears as though Colorado is going to take the safe route with Kuemper. Right now, it looks like Game 4 will see Francouz get the start, with Annunen as his backup.