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Francouz possible vs Stars; Bednar on why he played Jost over Nieto

August 3, 2020, 4:24 PM ET [1 Comments]
Rick Sadowski
Colorado Avalanche Blogger •Avalanche Insider • RSSArchiveCONTACT
As well as Philipp Grubauer played Sunday in the Avalanche’s 2-1 win against St. Louis, I’m guessing Pavel Francouz will get the start Wednesday against Dallas in their second round-robin game.

The Avalanche were off Monday after rallying against the Blues when Ryan Graves and Nazem Kadri scored third-period goals – Kadri’s power-play goal came with 0.1 seconds to play.

Here’s my NHL.com GAME STORY.

Coach Jared Bednar said Monday it’s possible Francouz will play against the Stars. Here’s what he said when asked about Francouz and forward Matt Nieto, who was scratched Sunday in favor of Tyson Jost:

“They're both possibilities, yes. I'm not going to talk about our lineup today because I haven't addressed our players. There are some individual meetings I'm going to have over the next 24 hours with our guys and then we'll make our lineup decisions. I always want to make sure we're telling our players who's playing and who's not before I give that stuff to the media.

“You also kind of know that I don't like naming our starting goaltender too early. It's just kind of the way we've been doing this for the last couple of years."

Actually, Bednar stopped announcing the starter after January. He called it his New Year’s resolution.

But he’s been saying all along that he expected to play both goalies in the round-robin games, and maybe even in the Stanley Cup playoff games that start next week.

Grubauer was solid against the Blues, the defending Cup champions, stopping 31 of 32 shots and all 28 he faced over the second and third periods. He played all four regular-season games against Dallas, going 0-2-2 with two shootout losses.

Francouz stopped all 14 shots he faced in relief of Grubauer in the final 29:30 of the Avalanche’s 3-2 exhibition win against Minnesota on Wednesday.

The only lineup surprise Sunday was Bednar’s decision to play Jost on the fourth line with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Matt Calvert rather than Nieto, who played in all 70 regular-season games.

Jost, a first-round pick (No. 10) in the 2016 NHL draft, had 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 67 games. He had four points (three goals, one assist) in 12 playoff games last year.

Nieto had 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 70 games. He had seven points (four goals, three assists) in 12 playoff games last year.

Jost played 9:45 on Sunday, had one shot on goal, one takeaway and one 25-second shift on the penalty kill.

“We’ve been preaching to our team that we’re going to need everyone,” Bednar said. “I really liked Jost’s competitiveness through training camp. I like the intensity he’s played with and he made a bunch of plays in our scrimmages; he just seems real dialed in, so to me he earned the right to play in this game just based on having a better camp than some other guys.”

Jost played 9:51 in the exhibition game against the Wild, 3:40 shorthanded, and had a minor penalty. Nieto played 9:33, 3:36 shorthanded, and blocked two shots.

“We’ll have some tough decisions,” Bednar said. “Just because we played a certain way all year doesn’t mean we’re going to stick with it in the playoffs. We’re going to need the best from all of our players, and the guys that kind of show that are going to be the guys that get relied upon.”

Bednar said he thinks Nieto will handle not playing in a professional manner.

“Every time his game goes into a lull, and every once in a while it does, I speak with him and we have a little conversation and he bounces right back and plays extremely well,” Bednar said. “I don’t want to make it sound like his play was poor in camp because it wasn’t. To me, it was just more rewarding a guy for a really strong camp.

“Now it’s going to come down to how guys perform during the games. I thought Jostie had a really strong camp, he’s really upped his play on the penalty kill. He was given the opportunity before the (NHL put the season on hold) in camp and now in two games he’s done a real nice job on the penalty kill, which is a similar role that Nieto has.

“There will be other guys in the mix. I have confidence in all our guys. In order to get the most from them if I have to take some ice time away or move things around a little bit and not be stubborn with our lineup just because we had it a certain way all year, then that’s what I’m going to do.”



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