Avs’ Francouz gets first NHL shutout against Anaheim 1-0

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — It was one of the best days of Pavel Francouz’s life.

Francouz finalized a $4 million, two-year contract extension with Colorado, and then made 26 saves to record his first NHL shutout in the Avalanche’s 1-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.

“A lot of good stuff happened to me today,” Francouz said. “It is a day to remember and a great feeling for use. I have to thank the guys because they played really well in front of me today. They blocked a lot of shots, and they were desperately trying to get the shutout for me.”

It was the 27th career game for Francouz, who has taken over since Philipp Grubauer sustained a lower-body injury in a Feb. 15 loss to Los Angeles. The 29-year-old Czech goaltender is 2-1-1 with a 1.80 goals-against average as the Avs’ top goalie.

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“Once you play more games in a row, you just start feeling better,” he said. “You don’t have to think that much you just go with it.”

J.T. Compher blasted a one-timer past John Gibson after getting the feed from Martin Kaut with 3:22 remaining in the second.

It was Compher’s ninth goal of the season and his first point in six games. Kaut, who was the 16th overall pick in the 2018 draft, picked up his first NHL point in his second game.

“It was a nice play by Martin to pick off that pass. He did a nice job selling it and sliding it over,” Compher said.

The Avalanche have won a season-high five straight on the road. Their 19 victories and 40 points away from home are third in the league.

Colorado’s victory — its 10th in its last 14 games — and Dallas’ loss to St. Louis moved the Avalanche into second place in the Central Division. They have 77 points and trail the Blues by three points.

“I thought we regrouped after a so-so first, had a real good second, and then they came at us pretty hard in the third period and I just didn’t think we handled it as good as we could have,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said.

Anaheim’s best scoring opportunity came in the first period when Michael Del Zotto hit the post. The Ducks have been shut out twice in the past three games and four times this season. Gibson stopped 28 shots.

“The thing is we need to keep trying to get pucks on net. It doesn’t have to be a clean shot on the net,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “If you watch the highlights every night, there are a whole lot of dirty goals being scored everywhere. That’s how we’re going to have to keep committing to getting pucks into the zone in front of the net.”

NOTES: Colorado posted its fourth shutout this season and second this month. … Anaheim D Hampus Lindholm played in his 500th NHL game. It also was RW Jakob Silfverberg’s 500th and C Adam Henrique’s 200th games with the Ducks. … The Avalanche got permission to wear their burgundy sweaters because Los Angeles requested its alternate jersey on Saturday night. Anaheim wore its white road sweaters for one of the rare times since the league mandated wearing dark colors at home in 2003.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: Continue their road trip against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

Ducks: Host the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday.

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