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Kuemper In Starter’s Net And Nazem Kadri Looking Likely For Avalanche

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Nazem Kadri

TAMPA — Unsurprisingly, after the morning skate Wednesday at Amalie Arena, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar stopped short of confirming that Darcy Kuemper will start in goal in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“Possibly,” Bednar said.

Yet all indications — including that Kuemper was in the starter’s net for the skate — are that Bednar is sticking with Kuemper rather than switching to Pavel Francouz.

So that’s one bit of news. The other, coming from the morning skate here at Amalie Arena: Nazem Kadri did a full “practice” with teammates and got reps on the second power-play unit. That, along with Nicolas Aube-Kubel skating long after the regulars had left the ice, gives a strong indication that Kadri will make his return to the Avalanche lineup tonight. Is he definitely in? We still don’t know that. But it’s looking more likely.

On his Altitude radio show Wednesday morning, about 80 minutes before the skate, Bednar said he talked with several players about the goaltending situation and indicated he had made his choice, without revealing what it was.

However, he did answer a follow-up question in the availability after the skate about Kuemper’s resilience and ability to rebound from sub-par games.

“Yeah, he’s done it, the same with the rest of our team,” Bednar said. “I feel like he’s done a nice job of that. He’s followed up good performances with better performances. He’s elevated his game when he’s needed to.”

The goalies’ playoff stats aren’t markedly different.

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Kuemper is 8-3 with a 2.76 goals-against average and a .892 save percentage. After allowing five goals, he was yanked in the second period of the 6-2 loss to the Lightning in Game 3 Monday night.

Francouz checks in at 6-0, 2.81 and .906.

Asked about Kadri’s status, Bednar said: “He’s getting better every day.”

What does Kadri need to show to be back in the lineup?

“Well, if he can do all the functions it takes to play hockey,” Bednar said. “And feel comfortable with it.”

Bednar confirmed that Andre Burakovsky, who appeared to suffer a hand or finger injury when blocking a Victor Hedman shot in Game 2, still was in Denver skating and getting treatment.

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Rich

Terry what are your thoughts with Bednar going with Kuemper tonight?

jimstrohmeier

The Bolts went with their starter after the Avs shellacked them in Game 2, and Kemps has been solid all season – it’s part of why we are here. The top two defenseman in the NHL were a bit off last game, I don’t expect that to happen again tonight. Every player’s defensive game

dp10

I don’t think it actually matters if we start Kuemper or Francouz. I think they have been performing similarly and frankly I think we can win without having the better goalie in the series! We have been winning like that all year long!

I welcome Kadri’s return to the line up! He’s gonna stick out like a sore thumb tonight…to the Avs’ benefit of course!

Last edited 11 days ago by dp10
Fish

It actually matters quite a lot. Yes, the save % numbers are similar but what isn’t similar is that the Avs play with much more confidence in front of Frankie. Frankie isn’t a top-tier goalie either, but he at least CAN make a big save here and there. The guys on the ice won’t say it in the media but I bet you they feel that virtually any shot on Kuemper has a good chance of going in and that affects a team’s confidence. They are more likely to lose with Kuemper in game 4 IMHO. Of course they can… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by Frank Fish
GWood

Spot on. More confidence in front of Frankie and I think he has a higher concentration level than Kuemper. If it is Keumper, its there for the taking so reach out and take it kid, now is the time.

dp10

We will have to disagree here. I think Kuemper has had perfectly reasonable games. In fact, he’s only had 2 stinkers, one ostensibly because of an issue with his eye.

Other than those 2 games, he’s held up his end of the bargain and he’s made key saves here and there. I am not going disagree with anyone who claims that he hasn’t stolen a game for us. He hasn’t and frankly he has not had to.

dp10

Ah all the doubters!

jimstrohmeier

Thank you to Terry, Adrian, Kelsey and the rest of this great crew, for the best Avalanche reporting anywhere. Avs fans are as hungry for CHN coverage as the Avs are hungry for the Cup. Three awesome posts today, the bonus post Cale Makar gave us by winning the Norris Trophy last night. Momma was emotional as Cale mentioned in his first of many acceptance speeches, and rightfully so. Joe Sakic and the team apparently did not “lose” the draft lottery when the Avalanche selected Cale 4th, they won the damn jackpot! The boys got this .. a win tonight… Read more »

onthefly

Francouz would have lost game 3 as well. Poor defense plays was the reason for the loss, not Kuemper. Give him another chance tonight.

Rich

I don’t necessarily disagree with your assessment but a couple of the soft goals given up by Kuemper did not help with gaining any momentum or confidence in his play. We’ll see I certainly hope he has a better game tonight.

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