Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz left Tuesday’s preseason game at Ball Arena with a lower-body injury.
Francouz was replaced by goalie Jonas Johansson with 10:11 remaining in the second period of an eventual 7-4 loss to Vegas. Francouz was able to skate off the ice without assistance from the medical trainer or teammates. Avs coach Jared Bednar said Francouz was supposed to play the whole game.
“I don’t know the severity of his injury,” Bednar said. “I can tell you that it’s a lower-body injury. (He) kind of went into the post strong there and twisted a little bit but nothing related to the hip surgeries that he’s had.”
During his final shift, Francouz seemed to be favoring the right side of his body and was signaling to the ref that something was wrong. The play was not stopped until Francouz was forced to make a save and freeze the puck.
Francouz faced 12 shots in his 29:49 of ice-time, stopping 10 shots. Colorado trailed 2-1 at the time of the injury. Johansson struggled mightily, allowing four goals on the first 10 shots he faced. He finished with 13 saves.
The Avalanche had two goals from each of Andre Burakovsky and Mikko Rantanen. Both players, along with star center Nathan MacKinnon (two assists), made their preseason debut.
Francouz did not play in the entire 2020-21 season for the Avs after having double-hip surgery. He was the backup goalie for the opening two games in January before the injury.
With the acquisition of starting goalie Darcy Kuemper, the Avalanche are hoping to deploy a strong goaltending tandem in the first full 82-game season since 2019. Bednar said last week that he’s hoping Francouz can play around 30 games to keep Kuemper fresh throughout the season.
An update on Francouz’s health is expected in the coming days.
Aarif Deen is our Colorado Avalanche beat reporter. He covers Avs games live from Ball Arena and attends practices, media availabilities and other events pertaining to the Avs on the daily beat. He is also a co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your go-to Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as the assistant sports information director.
Follow him on Twitter @runwriteAarif