Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) is helped off the ice after getting injured during the first period in Game 3 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Nashville Predators Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. | Darcy Kuemper sat out Game 4 on Monday night with the Colorado goaltender’s right eye still swollen from being poked by a stick through his mask.

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Pavel Francouz, who made 18 saves in nearly 41 minutes coming off the bench in relief on Saturday, will start against Nashville. Justus Annunen, recalled from Colorado’s AHL affiliate, will back up Francouz.

The Avalanche clinched the best-of-seven, first-round Western Conference series with a 5-3 win.

Kuemper was hurt late in the first period of the Avs’ 7-3 win on Saturday. Play stopped with 56.6 seconds left, and replays showed Predators center Ryan Johansen’s stick poked through Kuemper’s mask. The goalie was able to skate off and headed to the locker room holding a towel to his face.

Johansen said Sunday he was “sick to his stomach” at seeing Kuemper hurt. Bednar had left open Kuemper playing Monday night if the swelling subsided.

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