Pavel Francouz’s mind shift Saturday night made the difference for the Colorado Avalanche. After giving up 2 goals he didn’t let any more past him.
The Colorado Avalanche ended with a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday night and a big part of that win was the saves made by Goalie Pavel Francouz after the first period.
It was easy to see that Francouz was unhappy with the two goals that he let in from Columbus.
The first goal looked to me like a tip-in off Erik Johnson’s stick as he was trying to deflect the puck away from the net. Obviously Francouz didn’t see the puck in order to stop it. Columbus up 1-0 at this point.
For the past few games, the Avalanche have been the first team to get points on the board. That wasn’t the case the other night, and all from an unhappy mistake.
The second Columbus goal came from one of those fumbling attempts to stop the puck, that just didn’t work. A groan went up in Pepsi Center as the scoreline shifted in favour of the Blue Jackets, again.
Francouz seemed to realize, at that time, that he needed to shift his mindset or this game was going to get away from the Avalanche.
Not sure what mental exercises he used to get himself focused and back on point, and it doesn’t matter because he did it.
He came out and made some great saves for the remainder of the game, making a total of 39 saves and keeping the Blue Jackets scoreless for the rest of the game.
Yes, it did also make a difference that the Avalanche’s D men did their jobs deflecting the pucks BEFORE they got to Francouz. They also helped keep a clear line of sight for him between the player shooting the puck and the goal.
A goalie has a better ability to stop the puck when he can see where it’s coming from.
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What I noticed after the end of the first period was that at each of the ice clearing breaks Francouz remained away from the bench, on the ice, by himself stretching and continuing with his own mental focus exercises.
Also of note was the way that both Ian Cole and Mark Barberio spoke to Francouz after a great save. Probably giving him a pep talk and congratulating him on his work. For a reasonably new NHL goalie, this support is invaluable.
When you drop into that mental space of thinking it’s your fault the team is losing, it’s great to have the support of teammates telling you you’ve done great work making a save.
I’m guessing it hasn’t been easy for Francouz to step into the role of goalie in each game, replacing Philipp Grubauer. He had only had four starts prior to this homestand, and those came on different days, not consecutive.
Whilst he’d proven himself in the AHL last season playing for the Eagles, the pressure is ramped up when it comes to playing NHL level hockey. The intensity of the game is higher and there are bigger stakes at play.
His ability to hold out the puck can make or break the scoreline for the Colorado Avalanche, especially when they have as many injuries as they have currently.
The team needs all of the focus and support from their goalie they can get, and Saturday night Francouz gave that to them.
It will be interesting to see who gets the start on this next road game. We haven’t heard that Grubauer is back, though the Avs are saying he’ll go on the trip. However, Adam Werner may likely travel with the team and be the #2 goalie.
Let’s hope the two of them can help the team get some more wins on the road.