The Wraparound: Kuemper ‘eager to get going’ after scary eye injury

The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down the NHL playoff games today with the all-important television information.

• If you missed it, here is your Second Round NHL playoff schedule.

• Some NHL coaching news from Monday: Lane Lambert will replace Barry Trotz behind the Islanders’ bench and Peter DeBoer is out in Vegas.

• What storylines should you be following during the Second Round?

It was a pretty normal game situation with an Avalanche player defending a Predators player in front of Darcy Kuemper‘s crease. But as the Colorado goaltender was tracking the puck as it was coming to the front of the net an errant stick entered his mask and hit his eye.

“I didn’t know what happened until I watched it,” Kuemper said on Sunday. “It happened so quickly. Obviously, pretty scary when your eyes are involved but, you know, I got pretty lucky that it wasn’t worse.

“I think just bad luck.”

Fortunately, there was no damage to Kuemper’s eye, only swelling around his eyelid which forced him to miss the rest of Game 3 and all of Game 4 during their First Round sweep of Nashville. He’s been back at practice since the weekend and is expected to get the Game 1 start when the Avalanche begin their Second Round series against the Blues Tuesday night (9:30 p.m. ET).

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]

“For me individually, it’s been great to have that extra time to heal up,” Kuemper said. “We’re biting at the chop to get back playing. Playoffs are the funnest time of year to play. Especially at home here in front of the crowd. The crowd here was so fun [against Nashville], so we’re eager to get going.”

Kuemper, who posted a .942 5-on-5 save percentage against the Predators in three games, per Natural Stat Trick, has impressed head coach Jared Bednar since returning to practice. Colorado has not played since May 9 as they awaited to find out who they would play in the Second Round.

“So that is the one positive for us, [our] goalie will be sharp, ready to go and feel 100 percent,” Bednar said

NHL PLAYOFF GAMES TODAY

Game 1: Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers, 7 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports): Brayden Point is likely out for the Lightning tonight after suffering an injury versus Toronto in Game 7 of the First Round. Good thing Tampa Bay is known for its depth, right? The Panthers, meanwhile, will be playing in the Second Round for the first time since 1996. After losing to the Lightning in six games last season, Florida is ready for the rematch. “They’ve been the best the last couple of years,” said forward Sam Reinhart. “Obviously they’re the team everyone wants to be, everyone wants to beat. You start with [Andrei Vasilevskiy], another great series out of him [vs. Maple Leafs]. First and foremost you try to make his life difficult. Their top-end guys are some of the best in the world. It’s going to be a great challenge and we’re up for it.”

Game 1: St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche, 9:30 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)

PHT’s 2022 Stanley Cup previews
Avalanche vs. Blues

Lightning vs. Panthers
Makar, McDavid lead Conn Smythe watch after First Round
NHL Second Round predictions
Storylines for the NHL’s Second Round

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