OK, for those who don’t get the “Frankie goes Anaheim” reference. It’s a pop-culture reference here, kids. It’s on YouTube here.:
Pavel Francouz shut out the Anaheim Ducks tonight, getting his second straight victory in goal. Now listen, far be it from me to ever suggest a goalie “controversy”, but, yes, this goose egg by Frankie puts some pressure on Darcy Kuemper for the No. 1 job.
“I think his performance was excellent tonight. He just keeps looking better and better. He looked quick, he looked very quick,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said.
I think this is good pressure, pressure you want. You want the No. 1 goalie to feel like he must play well to keep his starting job. Frankie is starting to do that, and it’s not a surprise, really. Frankie hasn’t been healthy for the most part of the last two years, but he’s healthy now and he looks it. He’s a very good goalie, and this will get interesting as things move forward I think.
Kuemper is slated to start Friday night in Los Angeles against the Kings. No matter who is in the Avs’ net, let’s admit: they have a very, very good team in front of them. They aren’t going to need to shut out opponents all that often to just get a win.
Frankie’s 34 saves tonight were a tremendous showing, though, and it definitely returns serve to Kuemper in the “battle” for the top job on this very, very good team in front of them.
“It’s a little bit type of game on the road. We (like to) score a lot of goals at home, but…” Francouz said.
But…yes, it’s a different game on the road. Yet, the Avs perfectly adjusted to such a game, I thought, after that slowish start.
“I think it was a tight game today,” Avs D-man Devon Toews said. “We’re not going to blow every team out. But Frankie stood on his head, too.”
The Avs got goals from Sam Girard, a nice deke into the middle after a good feed from Kadri off the half-wall, and the empty-netter from Kadri.
The Avs also got a lift, I thought, from a fight between Kurtis MacDermid and Patrick Deslauriers. Big Mac continues to keep the opponents from getting away with any liberties, and he did his job again tongiht.
Kadri just continues to be all-world for the Avs. He’s now got 51 points in 33 games. Sign this guy to an extension already!
I thought the Avs looked a big sluggish in the first 15 minutes, but really poured it on the rest of the way. That doesn’t mean Frankie didn’t have to make a few really big-time saves, though, including a point-blank chance on Ryan Getzlaf, on the power play, in the third.
People who read me and listen to me enough know that I remain a Kemps backer, that I think he’s going to come up big for the Avs down the stretch. But, listen, I love the fact that Frankie is pushing him hard, just like he did to Philipp Grubauer in 2020.