DENVER — Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper is out for Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals with an upper-body injury, coach Jared Bednar confirmed Thursday.
Backup Pavel Francouz will start in Kuemper’s place Thursday night as the Avalanche lead the best-of-seven series after beating the Edmonton Oilers 8-6 in Game 1.
Kuemper left Game 1 in the second period and was replaced by Francouz. Bednar has declined to give any further details on Kuemper, including how long he expects the keeper to be out.
The veteran carried Colorado in the crease all regular season, going 37-12-4 with a .921 save percentage. Francouz mostly complemented him with equally strong stats (15-5-1, 0.916 SV%).
This is the second injury Kuemper picked up in the playoffs. He left the game in Game 3 of Colorado’s first-round win over Nashville after Predators forward Ryan Johansen hit him in the eye with a stick. Francouz ended that streak with a .902 save and 2.97 goals against average.
Kümper returned to the St. Louis Blues in the second round and has a solid playoff record at 6-2-0 with 0.904 SV% and 2.44 GAA. He made 13 saves on 16 shots before exiting Game 1.
While it’s unclear how long Kuemper will be unavailable, Bednar said he’s not worried about taking over from Francouz.
“We have a lot of faith in him,” Bednar said of Francouz after Thursday’s skating session. “He’s played really well for us in recent years. When he came into the Nashville Series situation, he did a great job for us. He came in the other night and did a good job for us. We’re absolutely confident that he can get the job done.”