FanPost

Goaltending Reigns Supreme As The Avs Shutout The Ducks 2-0

Sometimes you just need to grind out ugly wins and last night was an extremely choppy, uneven, and aesthetically nasty game. The only thing eye catching from the 2-0 victory over Anaheim was the goaltending. Both Pavel Froncouz and the Ducks’ John Gibson put on a backstop show, letting in one goal on a combined 61 shots. Fortunately for the Avs, Francouz pitched the shutout and Colorado escaped with a win.

For most of the season, the Avs penalty killing has been atrocious and consistently ranked in the bottom five in the NHL. Don’t look now, they’ve seemingly shaken off the doldrums and are in the midst of a four game streak of zero PPA, quite the reversal of fortune to say the least. The last powerplay goal the Avs allowed was against the Predators back on January 11, the infamous "Too Many Men On The Ice Game". Since then, they’ve killed off 12 straight.

So, what gives? From the fans’ perspective, the PK is more disciplined, they’re not shading one side of the ice and letting in backside cuts, they’re limiting quality chances, and the most visible reason is goaltending. Since he returned from injury, and since the mandated covid break, Pavel Francouz is 5-0 with 2.03 GA/game on .932 save%. He’s been an immense presence in net, getting the Avs first shutout of the 2021-22 season.

Which now begs the question…has he, or should he, supplant Darcy Kuemper as the Avs primary goalie? Based on his last five games, the answer is a resounding yes. Here’s why. Darcy Kuemper’s season stats are 26 gp, 17-5-1, 2.49 gaa, .916 sv%. Francouz has better numbers but on a fraction of the starts that Kuemper has, so conditioning and experience could be an issue. But, if you base it on recent starts, Pavel is the clear #1 choice. The only way numbers wise to say Kuemper is the better option is if you look only at his five best performances…October 30 against Minnesota, November 11 against Vancouver, December 12 against Florida, January 2 against Anaheim, and January 6 against Winnipeg. In those games, Kuemper had two or fewer goals allowed on .935 sv%. That’s barely above what Francouz has done since taking the net minder reigns back on January 8.

The other differences between the two are glaring and doesn’t paint a favorable picture of Kuemper. The main issues with Darcy are his inability to stay calm when the goal mouth scrum arrives. In these situations, he has a tendency to flail around and not cover his corners. He also has a maddening habit of letting in soft goals. Rebound control is another issue with Kuemper. This has produced multiple scoring chances for opposing teams. Francouz is calmer under fire, he can better handle his rebounds, and he just looks a half beat quicker with a better glove hand than Kuemper. While Francouz may not be a long-term solution as a franchise cornerstone, in my humble opinion, he gives the Avs a better chance of sustained success in the playoffs. Admittedly though, his playoff stats are awful…6gp, 2-4 w-l, 3.23 gaa, .892 sv%.

So, who should the Avs name as G1, Francouz or Kuemper?



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