Avalanche use strong power play to put Nashville on the brink of elimination following injury scare to Darcy Kuemper –

May 7, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz (39) makes a third-half save against the Nashville Predators in game three of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Darcy Kuemper’s eye injury on Saturday seemed much more serious than it was at first glance. The Avalanche goalie exited Game 3 late in the first period after a faulty stick caught him near the eye after going through his goalie mask.

Though Colorado lost their starter, Colorado made four goals on the power play to forge a 3-0 stranglehold lead en route to a comfortable 7-3 win over the Preds at Bridgestone Arena. More importantly for the Avs, however, Kümper’s injury will not last.

“He is doing better. We’ll have him evaluated further,” Avs coach Jared Bednar told reporters in Nashville. “He has swelling. Obviously he couldn’t come back but hopefully he’s fine and can get back on the grid.”

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It’s currently unclear if Kuemper will play on Monday, where the Avalanche will have an opportunity to end the streak in just four games. Substitute goalkeeper Pavel Francouz replaced him and stopped 18 of 20 shots the rest of the way.

“I thought he got better as the game went on,” Bednar said of Francouz.

Colorado had goals from Artturi Lehkonen, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog (two), Nazem Kadri, Devon Toews and Valeri Nichushkin.

It was the second time in three games that the Avalanche had scored seven goals. This time they all faced Connor Ingram, who had 41 shots and 35 stops from an empty Nichushkin goal. Ingram made 49 saves in Game 2 against Colorado.

The Avalanche’s power play woke up in a big way. They scored twice on eight occasions in their first two games before taking each of their first four chances in Game 3.

Aarif Deen is our beat reporter for Colorado Avalanche. He streams Avs games live from the Ball Arena and attends daily practices, media availability and other events related to the Avs. He is also the co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your Favorite Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports after completing his bachelor’s degree in journalism and his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Prior to Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as Assistant Sports Information Director.

Follow him on Twitter @runwriteAarif

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