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Kuemper leaves Avalanche - Predators Game 3 after taking stick up high

avs kuemper

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 7: Darcy Kuemper #35 of the Colorado Avalanche leaves the game in the first period with an injury against the Nashville Predators in Game Three of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on May 7, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Colorado Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper left Game 3 against the Nashville Predators after a stick caught him up high, catching him in a small opening in his goalie mask.

It’s unclear where, exactly an errant stick caught Kuemper’s face. The most immediate concern is if it made contact with Kuemper’s eye. In a scary scene, Kuemper spent some time on the ice, then left for the locker room clutching his face.

The Avalanche eventually announced that Darcy Kuemper would not return to Game 3. That part’s almost assumed. Generally, early updates are promising; The Athletic’s Peter Baugh reports that Kuemper didn’t suffer a concussion and that it might not be a long-term injury. After the Avalanche’s 7-3 win, Jared Bednar provided even more optimism. Kuemper may even have a chance to play as soon as Game 4?

Pavel Francouz replaced Kuemper as the Avalanche’s current goalie.

Disturbingly, Darcy Kuemper’s suffered the misfortune of taking a stick up high (evading at least some of his mask protection) before. That happened to him as a member of the Coyotes back in 2019:

Francouz is no stranger to recent injury issues, either. He missed the entirety of last season for injury reasons.

Memorably, the Avalanche also navigated injuries to Francouz and Philipp Grubauer during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

This continues a downright baffling run of playoff goalie injuries. The Penguins and Hurricanes both suffered multiple goalie injuries, and the Predators entered the playoffs without Juuse Saros.