It’ll be Darcy Kuemper’s turn in net Monday night as the Minnesota Wild look to avoid falling into a 3-0 hole in their Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Colorado Avalanche.
Veteran goalie Ilya Bryzgalov started the playoff series’ first two games for the Wild, allowing eight goals on 45 shots. He was benched late in the second period of Saturday’s 4-2 loss, and Kuemper pitched a shutout for the final 26-plus minutes.
Wild head coach Mike Yeo confirmed after morning skate Monday that Kuemper will get the start as Minnesota returns home for Game 3.
“It’s not just the saves he’s making, but the way he’s making saves,” Yeo said, via NHL.com. “He looked really confident in practice.”
The relief appearance was the first action Kuemper had seen in a month, as the 23-year-old’s last start came back on March 27. Kuemper didn’t exactly play well down the stretch, either, losing seven of his final eight regular-season games and allowing three goals or more in each of his last four.
Forwards Dany Heatley and Justin Fontaine also will return to the lineup for the Wild, replacing Kyle Brodziak and Stephane Veilleux. The Avalanche’s lineup will remain unchanged from Game 2, according to head coach Patrick Roy.
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