NCAA Football

Pavel Frankuz continues to excel in shootouts, and the Avalanche remain on fire in Seattle

Pavel Frankuz continues to excel in shootouts, and the Avalanche remain on fire in Seattle

SEATTLE — There’s something to talk about Paul French in firefights. Maybe it’s his ability to use his stick like Mika Rantanen assumes. Or maybe his athleticism, like Eric Johnson music His left-handedness could also knock down opponents, Alex Newhook thinks

Whatever the reason, Francouz is pretty damn good when it’s just him and one other skater on the ice after overtime. Perfect, technically. He faced 12 shot attempts NHL career. Zero found the back of the net.

“It’s a battle of who will stay patient for the longest time,” Francouz said. “I try to stay high in my crease, get the speed of the players and see what they’re going to do.”

That’s what it led to Colorado2-1 shootout win vs Kraken on Saturday. Going up against a former goalkeeping partner Philip Grubauer, Francouz didn’t allow a single hit on any of the shots he saw. Twice he knocked the puck away from the Kraken forward.

Francouz’s heroic shootout gave Colorado its fifth win in five games. The Avalanche played back-to-back games in the Pacific Northwest Vancouver on Friday, but that didn’t stop them. They went 3-0-0 on their trip, even with Kale Makar (day-to-day) has missed every game with an upper-body injury.

Grubauer and Francois were teammates for three seasons at Colorado. Both finished with 26 saves on Saturday and made big saves to keep the quick game from scoring.

“We just said hi during warm-up,” Francouz said. “It’s always fun playing against your friend and former teammate. He always has good games against us.”

Johnson added: “These two are great. … They know each other well and it was a tough game on both ends of the ice for both of those guys. They both played great.”

Francois was steady in the Colorado net, and the Avalanche also caught a few breaks. Jamie Alexiak hit the post in the third period, and Yani Gourde missed the net on a drive from the penalty box in the first period. John Hayden almost scored in a two-on-one, but his shot was also wide of the goal.

The Colorado goaltender’s biggest moments came in streaks. He poked-checked a Ryan Danato attempt to start, then observed a Jordan Eberle try to swim wide. Daniel Jump was the last attempt after Nathan McKinnon scored “Colorado”, and Francouz once again deflected the puck.

“He was going a little bit faster and then he braked in front of me,” Francouz said. “I let him get really close to me. I expected him to do. When he was very close, I just stuck a stick in front of him.”

Franco’s teammates cheered as he entered the locker room after the win, and Colorado will head home with all six possible points on the road. This leads to the conclusions from a back-to-back trip:

McKinnon’s magic

McKinnon set up a brilliant shootout for Francouz with an impressive move himself. He moved his hands like lightning and at the last moment passed the puck through the legs of Grubauer.

“(Grubauer) knows our guys,” Johnson said. “I’m sure he expected Nate to refuse. Nate has a whole bag of tricks. I haven’t seen him go five holes too often, so it was a bit of a surprise.”

Would Francoise stop it?

“I think I’d check him out,” he said with a laugh.

Penalty-kill progress

The Avalanche went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill against the Kraken, allowing Seattle to take just two shots. In Vancouver, the penalty kill successfully stopped four Canucks power plays and allowed just seven shots.

“There were some times early in the first half of the year where teams were really using the slot on us and the D, we were a little bit more passive and we were still giving up those chances where they would drop it low and push it right into the slot,” Johnson said. . “We tried to take it away, but it was still being used on us. Prater said, “Let’s make an adjustment and be a little more aggressive.” It worked. Until now, we have succeeded.”

The team rushed at the opposition more, which led to fewer chances. The Avalanche are now 19th in the league in penalty kill percentage after going 15-16 in their last six games.

“We just click a lot better” Andrew Kalyan said. “Our pressure points are a lot better. Prater made a few adjustments to keep us on our toes.”

The growth of Newhook

Bednar recently moved Newhook back to center, playing him mostly on a line with Hookah and Logan O’Connor. The coach, who favored Newhook on the wing for most of the first half of the season, said he looked better in the middle of the ice than earlier this year. Against the Canucks, he remained strong on the puck coming out of the defensive zone despite Connor Garland be on it. This led to Cagliano pushing the puck into the attacking zone, where the Avalanche began their forecheck. Newhook and O’Connor got the pucks JT Miller along the boards and Newhook flipped it to Hook who scored from the slot.

“That’s kind of the identity of our line: get the forecheck, get some pucks,” Newhook said. “Cogs found a great place to open.”

Kalyana adds: “He is a player who is good in attack and plays with the puck.”

Newhook continued his strong play in Seattle. In the middle of the second period, with the lines a little confused, Jacob McDonald threw the puck into the net from the blue line. Arthur Lehkonen tried to drive home the rebound. He couldn’t, but the puck got to Newhook in the throw-in circle in the offensive zone. He lifted it into the net. The young center nearly scored on Miko Rantanen’s goal late in the period. Both were in a hurry when Rantanen passed him the puck. Newhook hit him back, but perhaps too quickly. The pass seemed to catch Rantanen off guard and he didn’t make good contact with the puck, but that didn’t stop the star winger from complimenting his younger teammate after the game.

“He was very good to us,” he said. “He worked hard to get better.”

Newhook started the season with zero points in the first eight games. Since then, he has 10 goals and 8 assists in 37 games. That’s close to 40 points in 82 games.

Mayer is still looking for a goal

Ben Myers still waiting for his first goal since returning to the NHL club 22 games ago. He nearly deflected a rebound attempt into the net against the Kraken. He beat Grubauer, but his former Big Ten rival Matty Benyers rushed into the crease and stopped the puck before it crossed the line.

Makar update

Makar warmed up before the Kraken game, but wasn’t quite ready to play. Bednar classified upper body injury sustained vs Detroit on Monday, like every day.

“The bright side of it is that it doesn’t last long,” the coach said. “It’s not something that’s going to stop him for long.”

(Photo of Paulo Francouz throwing the puck to Kraken’s Ryan Donato in a shootout: Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

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