EDMONTON, ALBERTA – As well suspected would be the case, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar will, indeed, rotate his goalies during the round-robin portion of the Western Conference playoffs. Pavel Francouz will get the start today against the Dallas Stars, a round-robin tilt that starts at 4:30 p.m. (broadcast on Altitude, blacked out in Denver elsewhere).
I would definitely say that Philipp Grubauer will be the starter for Game 1 of the official first round of the postseason, which will start on or about Aug. 11 here. But this is a good chance for Bednar to get another look at Francouz in a game that means something, at least for seeding purposes.
Obviously, Bednar knows a lot about Francouz already, so this isn’t some make-or-break “audition” for him. But only one guy can start a hockey game as a goalie, so right now it appears to be Grubauer’s job to lose. I would suspect Grubauer will start the final round-robin game, Saturday against Vegas.
Bednar also said there will be a “couple” of lineup changes from the previous game, but wouldn’t divulge what those are. We’ll have to wait ’til game time for that I guess. Could it be Matt Nieto in the lineup instead of Tyson Jost? Could be.
Could Conor Timmins get a game and give someone like Ian Cole a rest? Could be. Could Bo Byram play a game? On that one, I doubt it. I just don’t think Bednar would play a kid like Byram for one game, when he doesn’t have much of a realistic chance of playing regularly in the playoffs. Remember, Byram can only play up to nine games before the first year of his entry-level contract would be burned, and the Avs will not be doing that unless there is some extreme emergency – like a Cale Makar getting hurt right before the start of the Western finals or something.
I’ll be at the game, so follow along with me later on Twitter. Remember, I’ll be seeing the game live, while it’ll be several seconds behind on your TV screen. So, better have the mute button on me if you don’t want any spoilers.
Hey, I’m used to being muted on Twitter, so no biggie.