Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Avalanche G Darcy Kuemper hit in eye area by stick, leaves Stanley Cup playoff Game 3 win over Predators

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The Colorado Avalanche extended their first-round playoff series lead to 3-0 with a 7-3 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday, but a scary injury prevented the Avs’ night from being entirely positive. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper hurt his eye area after taking a stick to the face late in the first period, forcing him out of the game for good. 

With the Avalanche leading 2-1 with under a minute remaining in the second period, Predators center Ryan Johansen seemed to have accidentally poked his stick through Kuemper’s mask. Kuemper immediately hit the ice and began writing in pain as medical personnel rushed to his side. 

After a few moments, Kuemper rose from the ice and left for the locker room while holding a towel to his face. Here’s how the incident went down: 

Coach Jared Bednar downplayed the extent of Kuemper’s injury after the game, saying the goalie had swelling but was doing well otherwise. Kuemper, Bednar said, could possibly play as soon as Game 4 on Monday. 

“He got evaluated right away and by the time we went back out, we had information it wasn’t going to be too serious,” Bednar said, per the AP. “Serious enough for him not [to] be able to come back, but at least he’s able to see and do all that so that made us all feel better I think.”

Kuemper, who ranks fifth among NHL goalies with a 1.41 goals-against average this postseason, collected 10 saves before his injury. His replacement, Pavel Francouz, added another 18 saves to help bring the Avalanche within one game of a first-round sweep. 

The Western Conference No. 1 seed Avalanche can knock out the No. 8 seed Predators with a win on Monday at 9:30 p.m. ET in Nashville. 

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