PRINT | The workload of the guards is no longer what it used to be. In the past seven seasons, only one of them has played in more than 70 regular games: Cam Talbot, with the Edmonton Oilers, in 2016-17.
The objective behind this tendency to divide the work between two trusted masked men is to save the energies of the trusted goalkeeper so that he can carry the team on his shoulders throughout the elimination course.
Because on this point the habits have remained the same. Barring a disaster, goalkeeper number one spends two months on goal. In NHL history, few teams have won the Stanley Cup using two goalkeepers.
In fact, according to research by colleague Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press, only three have used two goalkeepers for at least five wins: the Canadiens of 1969, the Boston Bruins of 1972 and the Pittsburgh of 2017.
Avalanche could join that shortlist by winning the prestigious trophy. Due to Darcy Kuemper’s injuries in the past few weeks, he and Pavel Francouz have contributed in almost the same way. Before the fourth game of the final on Wednesday evening, Kuemper had signed eight wins against six for the Czech.
Register of concessions
Also, what’s fascinating is that Francouz equalized a franchise mark by winning his six playoff games in a row. A record he shares with Philipp Grubauer and … Mario Gosselin. The latter had founded the brand in the spring of 1987 with the Nordiques.
In normal times it often happens that players feel more comfortable with one goalkeeper than with another. It seems that this is not the case in Colorado.
“You’ve seen it since the start of the playoffs. Both boys had to jump into the fray sooner or later and got the job done. No matter who is in front of the net, we are confident, ”said defender Jack Johnson.
This trust was built over the season. Specially acquired by the Arizona Coyotes last July to help the Avalanche reach the promised land, Kuemper has won 37 of the 57 games he has played.
“Whenever we needed him to step up his game, he did it,” boasted coach Jared Bednar.
To each his own work
Less busy, Francouz nevertheless recorded 15 wins in 21 games.
“Both of our goalkeepers have done a great job all season,” said forward JT Compher. He was like the rest of our training. The players arrived as reinforcements, some replaced others. Everyone knew how to do their job when the time came. “
Good weather after the rain
Francouz’s story is special. Never enlisted, the 32-year-old goalkeeper played five seasons in the Czech Republic and three more in the KHL before crossing the Atlantic Ocean and joining the Avalanche organization.
“When I was in the KHL, I started to believe that one day I could make it to the NHL. But it never crossed my mind during my years in the Czech Republic. “
“My first year in Russia. I hadn’t had a good season and I was injured often. He made me realize that life is full of ups and downs. When you are at idle, you need to encourage yourself by telling yourself that good weather always comes back after rain. “
It’s a safe bet that with his team so close to the Stanley Cup, the sun has never been so bright.