Backup Goaltender on Fire for the Avalanche

Backup Goaltender on Fire for the Avalanche

by February 23, 2020 0 comments

Pavel Francouz had already earned the new contract that was awarded to him a few days ago, and he’s only elevated his play since signing the two-year, $4 million extension.

Francouz is 3-1-1 in his last five games, including his first career shutout against the Anaheim Ducks the day he signed his new deal.

On the season Francouz has started 23 contests, won 16 of them, and got an overtime point in three others; earning 35 of a possible 46 points. He’s also posting a 2.27 goals-against average, a .927 season save percentage, and leads the NHL in road game save percentage and goals-against average, 1.58 and .951 respectively. Francouz is 9-2 in road games this year compared to 7-3-3 on home ice.

Since starting goalie Phillipp Grubauer went down in the Stadium Series game against the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 15, with a ‘Lower-body injury’, Francouz has started every game and has been magnificent. The Avalanche have a pretty intense end of season game slate, and these five games were played in only seven days. In those five games, he’s got a .925 save percentage and has earned the Avalanche seven standings points in five games.

He gave up four goals in a loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning at home, but the game still went to overtime earning the Avalanche a point in the standings. The Kings scored three goals in the Stadium Series game, but the first was against Philipp Grubauer and the last was an empty netter as time was expiring in the third.

The elevated goaltender play has been pivotal in earning those seven points as the Avalanche have hit a scoring drought and have only scored nine regulation/overtime goals in the last five games (1.8 goals per game), including three total goals in three games against California teams (Ducks and Kings twice).

Without excellent netminding, the Avalanche could have limped out of this stretch with only three points instead of seven.

Philipp Grubauer is out indefinitely and the Colorado Avalanche have called up their AHL affiliate, the Colorado Eagles, goalie Hunter Miska to be the backup. To this point, however, Pavel Francouz has been the workhorse the team has needed as they continue to battle for playoff positioning.

The Avs are currently a single point behind the St. Louis Blues, for first in the Western Conference, having played one less game than them. As of today, they have the highest goal differential in the Western Conference, have the second-lowest goals against behind the Dallas Stars, and have scored the most goals in the West by quite a large margin.

The fans are definitely being spoiled this season with the team playing a revitalized brand of hockey, enduring a bad injury bug, demonstrating incredible depth, and winning despite every factor. The powerplay has been incredibly disappointing this season, but even with the power play dominating the Avs continue to score at an insane pace and have put themselves at the top of the Western Conference.

Pavel Francouz has been one of the best players on this team, was rewarded with a payday, and somehow elevated his level of play, further demonstrating the pay increase was well worth it. While Grubauer continues to heal and get himself ready for the end of season push, and into the playoffs, the team will lean heavily on Francouz to shoulder the load.

Through this point in the season, we have zero reasons to believe he isn’t the right man for the job.

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