TAMPA, Fla. – The Colorado Avalanche face a crucial resolution within the crease after starter Darcy Kuemper was pulled from a 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Sport 3 of the Stanley Cup Remaining on Monday night time.
Kuemper allowed 5 objectives on 22 pictures earlier than getting the hook halfway via the second interval. He was changed by Pavel Francouzwho made 9 saves on 10 pictures.
The Avalanche lead the best-of-seven sequence 2-1. Sport 4 is right here Wednesday, and Colorado coach Jared Bednar did not put his weight behind Kuemper to start out that matchup.
“He did not have an excellent night time, you understand?” Bednar mentioned when requested about his confidence in Kuemper. “Neither did our workforce. We win as a workforce, lose as a workforce. Group him in with all people else. Simply wasn’t pretty much as good as we would have liked to be.”
Pressed additional on what is going to go into deciding the Sport 4 starter, Bednar added: “Identical factor that all the time goes into the choice.”
Colorado was flying excessive forward of Sport 3 after executing a near-perfect plan in routing Tampa Bay 7-0 in Sport 2 on Saturday.
Kuemper noticed solely 16 pictures in that outing, which the Avs completely dominated. Sport 3 marked the primary time Colorado has trailed in a sport on this sequence, and it marked its first highway lack of the postseason.
Kuemper acquired the nod over Francouz as Colorado’s starter for the Cup Remaining regardless of a streaky second-round sequence towards St. Louis and having not performed in over two weeks previous to the opener towards the Lightning. He suffered an upper-body damage in Sport 1 of the Western Convention finals towards Edmonton, and the French stepped in to backstop Colorado to 4 straight wins.
Nonetheless, Bednar went again to Kuemper for Sport 1. He had been Colorado’s incumbent throughout a robust common season (37-12-4, .921 save proportion, 2.54 goals-against common). Francouz was an excellent complement through the common season (15-5-1, .916 SV%, 2.55 GAA) and has been the higher netminder statistically through the playoffs (6-0-0, .906 SV% and a pair of.86 GAA vs. Kuemper at 8-2-0, .901 SV% and a pair of.44 GAA).
If Kuemper does begin Sport 4, his teammates imagine he can return to type.
“Absolutely assured [he can bounce back]” Josh Manson mentioned. “He is within the Nationwide Hockey League for a cause. He’ll bounce again.”
As Bednar famous, the Avalanche did not play to their regular customary Monday night time. To start out, Colorado was short-handed up entrance with Andre Burakovsky sidelined with an obvious hand damage suffered blocking a shot in Sport 2. Nazem Kadri additionally remained out with a damaged thumb.
Valery Nichushkin appeared to attain the sport’s first aim within the opening interval, however Tampa Bay efficiently challenged for offside to maintain it a 0-0 sport. Lightning coach Jon Cooper took so lengthy deciding whether or not to have the play reviewed that motion fairly practically resumed, and Bednar took difficulty with that.
“It was lengthy,” he mentioned of the method. “I do not know what else to inform you. It was in all probability 3 times the size we usually get.”
Cooper agreed, making a plea in his personal postgame information convention for the NHL to make the overview course of extra environment friendly.
Colorado did get its ice breaker from Gabriel Landeskog on a power-play aim as an alternative. It was the Avalanche’s ninth consecutive aim within the sequence, going again to the top of Sport 1.
However that is when Tampa Bay began scoring in bunches.
Anthony Cirelli and Ondrej Palat put the Lightning up 2-1 after 20 minutes, the primary lead Tampa Bay had held within the Cup Remaining. Nick Paul, who was injured late within the first interval however returned for the second, capitalized on a Manson giveaway early in that body to make it 3-1. Paul left the ice proper after and didn’t take one other shift.
“The execution beneath stress tonight was not nice,” Bednar mentioned. “I believe we had some performs to make that we did not make. I believe on a number of the entries, they pushed us a little bit bit. We acquired a little bit cute with the puck the place I assumed in Sport 1 and Sport 2, we have been simply shifting it. I believe clearly that was their greatest sport of the sequence, and it wasn’t ours. “
Landeskog scored the Avs’ second aim on an ensuing energy play for his first multigoal playoff outing since Sport 3 of Colorado’s first-round sequence in Nashville.
It was a foul night time for Colorado, however that does not imply the sequence has gone bitter for them.
“It is the Stanley Cup Remaining. We’re not anticipating a sweep,” Nathan MacKinnon mentioned. “That is enjoyable. That is superior. Good or unhealthy, we’re not going to commerce our spot with anybody. We have waited a very long time for this. We’re taking part in the very best proper now. We’re taking part in the very best workforce, they’ve received back-to-back [Stanley Cups]. We knew they have been too proud to go away. We nonetheless really feel good. We be ok with our workforce prime to backside. “
Within the lead-up to taking part in the Lightning, the Avalanche repeatedly mentioned they hoped to at some point emulate their standing as repeat contenders. Proper now, Colorado can take a web page from the Lightning on the way to get better from disappointment.
“We go into [every] sport resilient. I believe that is our mentality, “MacKinnon mentioned.” Even within the third [period], we performed rather well. We weren’t going to surrender. Clearly, [we didn’t score] objectives or something, however I believe that is what we have discovered. Similar to Tampa, they did not dangle their head on shedding to us in Sport 2, and we’re not going to do the identical tonight. “