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Morning Skate Diary

If Francouz is fit to play, would you even start him?



EDMONTON, ALBERTA – We probably won’t know the starting goalie for the Avalanche in Game 6 until the pregame warmup. We don’t know the latest health status Pavel Francouz right now either. So here’s your question of the day, Avs fans:

Even if Francouz were healthy, would you start him? Or would you just stay with Michael Hutchinson?

Kind of a tough call, right? On the one hand, if Francouz were healthy again, wouldn’t you just say “Hey, the guy had a real good regular season. OK, yeah, he’s been awful for most of this series, but maybe sitting out a game and getting his head together will be just what the doctor ordered. Faith in Frankie!”

On the other hand:  “Are you kidding? The way Frankie looked in that last game, the way he’s looked in every game this series? No thanks, I’m staying with the guy who stopped 31-of-34 shots. Hutch is Clutch!”

What do I think? I don’t know. Tough call. I can go with either of those two imagined sentiments above and feel justified with either one.

I asked longtime friend Pierre McGuire of NBC yesterday which way he’d go if he were Jared Bednar and the answer was this: “I’m not sure where the entire team his health-wise, so not fair for me to answer hypothetically. They need to play the same way in Game 6 but stay out of the penalty box.”

That’s right. No matter who is in goal, the Avs have to keep that scary Dallas power play off the ice as much as possible. Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt if the Avs could get their PP going again too. They went 0-for-6 in Game 5, including a whiff on a 5-on-3 for 1:37.

Let Dallas be the frustrated team again. Let some of their veteran guys kick themselves of the game with misconducts, the way Blake Comeau and Joe Pavelski did. Let Rick Bowness keep thrusting his hands in the air, bemoaning the fates over any call that goes against the Stars.

For that to happen, the Avs need to take care of the puck, use their speed advantage and swarm the net. None of this dilly-dally, east-west game they love to play sometimes. They do that, it won’t matter who’s in the Dallas net.

Or theirs.

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