Videos by OutKick
The Colorado Avalanche managed to hold on and take Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals 8-6 over the visiting Edmonton Oilers.
The Avalanche had a commanding 6-3 lead early in the second period. However, goaltender Darcy Kuemper then suffered an upper-body injury that forced him off the ice for the remainder of the game.
Though backup goalie Pavel Francouz has made a few appearances this postseason, he had an off day on Tuesday evening. He quickly allowed goals from Oiler sharpshooters Connor McDavid, Derek Ryan and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to bring the Oilers within one with seven minutes left to play.
After the game, Francouz said, “We didn’t plan to play such a game, but we’ll take the win. It’s obviously easier [to come in] if you have a pretty good lead, so I think that kind of helped us for sure. I didn’t feel cold for like five seconds; I was warm pretty quickly. That wasn’t an issue.
“We all know what kind of players are on these two teams and we didn’t plan to play such a game, but we take this win for sure, and we move forward.”
Meanwhile, the Oilers also sent their backup goaltender Mikko Koskinen into the game for veteran Mike Smith, who had allowed six goals. Koskinen finished the game with 20 stops (.952 SV%), but it was not enough.
Game 2 of the series will be held in Denver on Thursday at 8 pm ET. No word from Avs coach Jared Bednar about whether Kuemper will be able to return to the net by then.