Avs head coach Bednar coy on goalies, but could Kadri play in Game 4?
The day after the disappointment Avalanche fans want answers.
Colorado was crushed by Tampa Bay 6-2 on Monday night in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, but still has a 2-1 lead in the series.
A lot went wrong for the Avs in their first road loss of the postseason, but particularly in net. Starting goalie Darcy Kuemper gave up five goals on just 22 shots in 31:11 on the ice. He was yanked for backup Pavel Francouz who was much better the rest of the way, allowing just one tally while making 11 saves.
During Colorado’s media availability on Tuesday in Tampa, Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar wouldn’t tip his hand on who will start in goal in Game 4. But he also didn’t give Kuemper a strong endorsement.
Jared Bednar, when asked if Darcy Kuemper will start tomorrow: “That’s one possibility.” In short, he’s not showing any cards.
— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) June 21, 2022
Francouz is 6-0 in these playoffs and was a big reason the Avalanche swept Edmonton in the Western Conference Final. It would have been shocking if Bednar announced him as the starter today, since hockey coaches don’t reveal much, but he makes a lot of sense tomorrow night. Kuemper hasn’t looked right since suffering an eye injury in Game 3 against the Predators, and “Frankie” gives the Avs the best chance to win.
Speaking of injuries, Bednar provided two key updates. The first is that forward Andre Burakovsky is still in Denver and may skate today or tomorrow. Translation? He’s not playing in Game 4.
The second one is much more encouraging, as Bednar noted center Nazem Kadri is an “option” for Colorado moving forward. He’s been out since Game 3 of the Oilers series after Evander Kane hit him with a dirty cross-check and broke Kadri’s thumb. Kadri had surgery the next day, but could miraculously play just a couple of weeks later. He was seen skating with his teammates at an optional practice on Tuesday.
Nazem Kadri out here .. will we see him in Game 4? pic.twitter.com/nxHADgDC18
— Romi Bean (@Romi_Bean) June 21, 2022
Obviously, getting Kadri back would be massive. He’s definitely one of Colorado’s four best forwards and the offense was noticeably lacking without him and Burakovsky in Game 3. Kadri is also a leader, and his presence back in the lineup would give the Avs an emotional boost.
Game 4 is tomorrow night in Tampa Bay at 6:00 p.m. MT on ABC. The Avalanche will either take a commanding 3-1 lead or come back to Denver tied 2-2. Who’s in goal and whether or not Kadri can play should go a long way toward determining that outcome.