The Avalanche rewarded their backup goalie Pavel Francouz with a two-year contract extension and the goaltender responded with his first career NHL shutout.
Colorado (35-18-7) center J.T. Compher scored the only goal late in the second period, helping the Avs blank the Anaheim Ducks 1-0.
Francouz, 29, signed a two-year extension worth a reported $4 million before the match on Friday. In his first full year in the NHL, Francouz has been one of the NHL’s best goaltenders in terms of save percentage. Francouz ranks fourth in the league with a .926 save percentage. He is 15-5-3 on the season and 4-0-1 in his last five starts.
After a scoreless first period and a slow start to the second, Colorado finally found the back of the net with 3:22 remaining in the second. Martin Kaut, the Avalanche’s 2018 first-round draft pick, intercepted the puck from the Ducks defender in the offensive zone and fed Compher for the one-timer.
Kaut’s first career point came in his second game with the Avs. He had one shot in 10:33.
Colorado’s defense has tightened up. After holding the New York Islanders to one goal on Wednesday, the Avs followed that performance with a shutout. Francouz has surrendered one goal on 54 shots.
The Avalanche continue to push for first place. The St. Louis Blues dominated the Dallas Stars 5-1 on Friday, meaning Colorado has passed the Stars for second place in the Central Division. The Avs have a game in hand over Dallas. Colorado remains three points behind the Blues for first place but has two games in hand.
Colorado will probably play Francouz on consecutive nights. Without starter Philipp Grubauer, the Avs are expected to start Francouz on Saturday in Los Angeles. Francouz has never played on consecutive nights in the NHL.