Darcy Kuemper is injured in goal as Colorado Avalanche defeat Edmonton Oilers in series opener

DENVER — The Colorado Avalanche They held on to the victory Edmonton Oilers8-6 in Game 1 of Tuesday's Western Conference Final, but the home side lost their starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper This can lead to an injury to the upper-body.

Kuemper returned to the ice late when the second period started. He then left the TV timeout. He ended the night with 13 saves and 16 shots. Backup Pavel Francouz Enter to backup Colorado for the remainder of the game in an 18-save performance.

After the win, Colorado coach Jared Bednar did not provide any updates on his goaltender.

When Bednar was asked whether Kuemper's issue was a day-today or something more long-term, all he could say was “We'll be seeing.”

Kuemper's condition may cause a significant momentum swing depending on how severe it is.

Kuemper's postseason performance has been excellent, with a 6-2-0 record and.904SV%. Kuemper also had 2.44 GAA going into the Conference Final. Kuemper is coming off a stellar regular season (36-74,.921SV%, 2.54 GAA), which helped Colorado position well for the playoffs.

The 32-year old was expected to play a key role in helping Colorado get past Edmonton and its slew of offensive stars, namely forwards. Connor McDavid And Leon Draisaitl Francouz will be enjoyed by anyone who has the chance.

Francouz's performance as a bench player was a clear indication of this. Francouz was at the game's 6-3 point and surrendered McDavid goals. Derek Ryan And Ryan Nugent-Hopkins It was too late to allow Edmonton within one, when Edmonton had over seven minutes left in regulation. It felt close enough to be comfortable.

Francouz acknowledged that “we didn't plan” to play this game but that “we'll take the victory.” It's much easier to get in when you have a lead. So, I think this helped us. I didn't feel cold for five seconds. I was very warm in no time. This wasn't an issue. We all know who these players are and that we didn’t plan to play them. But, we accept the win and we move on.”

Francouz had at least not been completely idle during the playoffs. When Colorado's starter was injured in Game 3, the Avalanche had already sent Kuemper to fill in. The Predators' forward Ryan Johansen Kuemper was accidentally hit in the eye with the stick. Kuemper would miss the remainder, before returning to full health for the second round matchup against St. Louis.

Francouz was in the lineup to replace Kuemper and went 2-0-0 with a 2.97 GAA and a.902SV%. Francouz performed better in the regular season (2.55 GAA,.916SV%), but he showed great awareness of key saves in Game 1, to keep the Oilers away.

Kuemper's was not the only goalie drama Game 1 had. Also, the Oilers flipped Mike Smith To Mikko Koskinen After Smith conceded a sixth goal, Edmonton lost the second 6-3.

Smith ended with 19 saves (760SV%) to Koskinen’s 20 stops (0.952SV%).

Smith, 40, was also a victim in Edmonton's second round series against Calgary. Smith gave up three goals in just six minutes of the first period.

Smith was able to laugh at the fact that “obviously we don't love Game 1s”, but he was clearly disappointed with how it turned out.

Smith stated, “When you are on the bench half-way through the game it's not good sign.” “It's just one game. I've been in that position before so it's safe to put it away. It's a long series.”

It was a close loss for the Oilers. An unsuccessful, and controversial, offside challenge still loomed.

When Cale Makar With only 13 seconds remaining in the first period, Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft challenged Jay Woodcroft's play for being offside. However, the NHL upheld this goal.

The question was: Valeri Nichushkin Before Makar took puck into Edmonton's end, Woodcroft had crossed the blueline. Woodcroft thought he didn't. The NHL claimed that Makar had moved the puck into the zone, but didn’t actually cross the blueline until Nichushkin had tagged up. The play was therefore onside.

The Avalanche held a 3-2 lead with the unsuccessful challenge, but it was also upheld by the Avalanche. Nazem Kadri Also scored 32 seconds during Colorado's power play.

Woodcroft believes he made a good call in challenging but still believes it shouldn't count. Woodcroft was less concerned with Edmonton's performance on the night that 14 pucks were connected.

He stated, “We didn’t lose or win this game because we made that call.” It's not what you get, but what you give up. There are always things that happen in hockey games. You just have to keep moving forward. We didn't win the kill, which was disappointing. We have work ahead of us to fix the problems.

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