The Colorado Avalanche are not only facing an early deficit in their Second Round series with the Dallas Stars, but they are now going to have to move forward without two key players.
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar announced on Monday that starting goalie Philipp Grubauer and defenseman Erik Johnson are going to be sidelined “indefinitely” after both were injured in the team’s 5-3 Game 1 loss on Saturday night.
”We’ve got to move on and go without them for the foreseeable future,” Bednar said.
Game 2 of the series will be played on Monday night (9:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN; Livestream) in Edmonton.
Johnson was initially injured in the first period when he was involved in a collision with Dallas’ Blake Comeau. He struggled to get off the ice and exited the game for the remainder of the first period. He tried to return on more than one occasion throughout the night but it was obvious he was not anywhere close to 100 percent.
You can see the initial injury here.
Johnson will be replaced in the lineup by Kevin Connauton.
Grubauer, meanwhile, was injured in the second period when he suffered an apparent left leg injury while making what looked to be a routine save on a Denis Gurianov shot. He immediately dropped to the ice and remained there for several minutes before being helped to the locker room, unable to put any weight on his left leg.
He was replaced by backup Pavel Francouz who will now take over the starting goaltending duties in Grubauer’s absence.
The 29-year-old Francouz is in his first full NHL season and has been to this point a great find for the Avalanche. In 34 appearances during the regular season he posted a 21-7-4 record to go with a .923 save percentage (higher than Grubauer’s) and was rewarded with a two-year contract extension.
He spent the first eight years of his professional career playing in Europe before getting an opportunity with the Avalanche organization at the start of the 2018-19 season. He spent most of last season in the American Hockey League with a brief cup of coffee in the NHL.
Now he finds himself as the temporary starting goalie for a Stanley Cup contender.
No. 2 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 3 Dallas Stars (DAL leads 1-0)
Game 1: Stars 5, Avalanche 3 (recap)
Game 2: Monday, Aug. 24, 9:45 p.m. ET – NBCSN (Livestream)
Game 3: Wednesday, Aug. 26, 10:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Game 4: Friday, Aug. 28, 10 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Game 5: Sunday, Aug. 30 – TBD
*Game 6: Monday, Aug. 31 – TBD
*Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 2 – TBD