Kuemper's Injury Can Turn Tide Of Western Conference Final

Darcy Kuemper was injured halfway through Game 1 of the Western Conference Final and didn't return. Immediate reports say it is an upper-body injury. Head coach of the Colorado Avalanche Jared Bednar said "we'll see" when asked if the injury was just day-to-day.

The Avalanche have had trouble in recent years with injuries to their goaltenders during the playoffs and it has cost them. In 2019-20, three goaltenders started at least three games in the playoffs and they fell to the Dallas Stars in seven games in the second round. Pavel Francouz went 2-4 with a .892 save percentage (SV%).

Kuemper allowed three goals on 16 shots before leaving the game but Francouz didn't do much better as his replacement, stopping 18 of 21 shots against. Francouz said "it's obviously easier if you have a pretty good lead." The Avalanche had a 6-3 lead when he came into the game and he was credited for the win.

Though Francouz has a record of 3-0 in the 2022 playoffs, two of his wins have come in relief and his one start was in the closing game in Round 1 against the Nashville Predators. Francouz's stats haven't been nearly as good as previous seasons, so it doesn't bode well for a series that will see a ton of goals like Game 1 featured. The Edmonton Oilers and Mike Smith have proven they can bounce back in Game 2 while getting better defensive play and goaltending, so it is critical that Kuemper's injury doesn't keep him out for too long.

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