Colorado Avalanche pull starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper from Game 3 after allowing five goals

TAMPA, Fla. — The Colorado Avalanche pulled goalie Darcy Kuemper out of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals after the Tampa Bay Lightning took a 5-2 lead midway through the second half Tuesday night.

Kümper allowed five goals in 21 shots. He was replaced by backup Pavel Francouz.

The Avalanche led the series 2-0 and lost 7-0 to the Lightning in Game 2 on Saturday. Kuemper saw just 16 shots on that outing while the Avalanche thoroughly dominated Tampa Bay. Game 3 marked the first time Colorado has trailed the Lightning this series.

Kuemper got the nod over Francouz as Colorado’s starter for the series despite not having played in more than two weeks prior to the opener. He sustained an upper-body injury in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Edmonton Oilers, and Francouz stepped in to help Colorado win four straight games.

Still, Bednar returned to Kuemper for Game 1. Kuemper was Colorado’s incumbent during a strong regular season (37-12-4, .921 SV% 2.54 GAA). Francouz was a great addition there (15-5-1, 0.916 SV%, 2.55 GAA) and was the better keeper, statistically filling in for Kuemper in the postseason (6-0-0, 0.906 SV% and 2. 86 GAA vs Kuemper at 8-2-0, 0.901 SV% and 2.44 GAA).

Bednar said ahead of Game 3 that he thought Kuemper wasn’t at his best after the long layoff in Game 1, but played well enough in Colorado’s 4-3 OT win. As Tampa Bay pushed back to work up their 2-0 deficit, Kuemper clearly didn’t have the answers Bednar was hoping for.

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