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Not for nothing, but the Avs haven’t scored on Kuemper yet

Apr 23, 2014, 2:33 PM EDT

Darcy Kuemper AP

Through the first two games of the Colorado-Minnesota series, most of the focus was on the Avs’ top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Paul Stastny and Gabriel Landeskog — a trio that combined for seven goals and 13 points.

But is it worth mentioning all of that production came against Ilya Bryzgalov?

Probably, yes.

Since taking over for Bryz 11:59 into the second period of Game 2, Darcy Kuemper has faced 36 Avalanche shots over the span of 91 minutes — and stopped all 36 shots over those 91 minutes. He recorded the Wild’s first-ever playoff shutout in Game 3 and seems to be a different goalie from the one that struggled at times during the regular season.

“[Kuemper’s] in a different place now,” Wild head coach Mike Yeo said, per the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “The difference is when we put him into this game tonight, we knew he was ready.”

Now this isn’t to say Kuemper’s been a world-beater. The guys in front of him played a very solid game on Monday, outshooting the Avs by more than 2-to-1 (46-to-22, to be specific) while killing all four Colorado power play opportunities with aplomb.

This does make you wonder, though — how much of Colorado’s early offensive success came from the fact Bryzgalov was the one trying to prevent it?

Do consider what Avs head coach Patrick Roy said prior to the series

Roy made clear before the series started that the Avs have “a lot of info” on Bryzgalov. Avs goalie coach Francois Allaire was Bryzgalov’s goalie coach once upon a time in Anaheim, and Avs backup Jean-Sebastien Giguere was the Ducks’ No. 1 at the time. 

On this narrative, it’s worth noting that despite being Central Division rivals and playing each other five times, the Avs didn’t see Kuemper once this season. Josh Harding was in goal for the first three games, Niklas Backstrom for the final two.

Finally, there’s how Yeo has handled the switch. While he never openly criticized Bryzgalov’s play — even backing the Russian ‘tender following a rough Game 1 loss — he’s been very vocal about how confident and sound Kuemper looks.

“It’s not just the saves he’s making, but the way he’s making saves,” Yeo said prior to Game 3. “[Kuemper] looked really confident in practice.”

More confident than this, perhaps?

  1. strictlythedanks - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    The Kuemperor appears to be on his game. Hes got that swagger of confidence he had during his outstanding play earlier this year.

  2. spoon9z - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Scoring is coming…game 4 is going to be nuts.

  3. danglesnipecelly88 - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    If any team could win it all besides the team I root for, I would like it to be the Wild.

  4. jernster21 - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Some of the goals the Avs scored on Bryz would have been scored on any goalie. Not to take away anything fro Kuemper, he has played well since coming in but the Avs didn’t really have any super great scoring chances against him. Seemed like everything was coming from the outside without traffic in front of him and nothing in the way of getting him moving side to side. The Avs will certainly have to do a better job of that to get a couple behind him and then they get in his head a little, but right now Kuemper certainly has the mental advantage.

    • tved12 - Apr 23, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      Then again, some of them would have been stopped by a peewee.

      JK, but I thought the goal by MacKinnon in game 2 really crushed the Wild players spirits. Prior to that goal they were taking it to the Avs, after that softie they were playing more reserved.

      • 950003cups - Apr 23, 2014 at 6:09 PM

        or if not, Dizzy Bryzzy could just score on himself.

  5. luvmnsports2012 - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    Just gotta keep your confidence up Keumper!! The Wild and the fans are relying on you!! Keep it up Keump!! Fight Fight Fight…GO WILD!!!

  6. avfanforlife - Apr 23, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    It was one game – Were the Av’s supposed to sweep? No. On to game four.

    • tved12 - Apr 23, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      You wouldn’t have known they weren’t supposed to sweep if you listened to their fans after game 2.

  7. purpleguy - Apr 23, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    I’m not sure Kuemper has really been tested yet — certainly not that much in game 3. I suspect that will change in the next couple games, although it would be just fine with me if he’s bored as hell the next 3 games.

  8. vstar1us - Apr 23, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    Ok girls it’s only 91 minutes, let’s Go Wild….
    I love being bat crap crazy, and skinny dippin’ at the Polar plunge…………..

    • yetidad - Apr 23, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      TMI. Bad visual on that one.

      • yetidad - Apr 23, 2014 at 4:34 PM

        GO WILD!

      • tved12 - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:21 PM

        She could be a hot chick, not such a bad visual then!

  9. billiam55 - Apr 23, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    u just jinxed it NBC

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