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Francouz Named NHL Third Star of the Week

Francouz posted a trio of 3-2 victories to extend his overall win streak to six games

by Kate Reed /

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz was named the NHL's Third Star for the week ending March 1, the league announced on Monday.

Francouz started in all three of Colorado's games and earned wins in each one, allowing only two goals per contest for a total of six. He earned a 2.00 goals-against average and .946 save percentage last week, the best numbers of any goaltender that won three or more games.

His week started with 31-save performance against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday in a 3-2 Avalanche win. The goaltender made 30 or more saves in all three starts, recording a season-high 45 saves on Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes. The next night, he stopped 30-of-32 shots at the Nashville Predators to help Colorado sweep its sixth back-to-back set of the season.

He has stepped into a more prominent role with the Avalanche as goaltender Philipp Grubauer is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Since Grubauer's injury on Feb. 15, Francouz has posted a 6-1-1 record with a .941 save percentage and 1.76 goals-against average, allowing only 13 goals in eight games.

Francouz has started in net in all of the Avalanche's games since Feb. 17, including in two back-to-back sets, and has helped Colorado win six straight games and set a franchise record with eight consecutive road wins. Francouz finished the month of February with a 7-1-1 record, 1.79 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in nine appearances. His seven February wins tied for the NHL lead and were the second-most by an Avalanche/Nordiques goalie in the month, trailing only Patrick Roy's nine in 2003.

Francouz's .929 save percentage for the season currently ranks second in the NHL overall among goalies who have played 22 or more games, while his 2.24 save percentage ranks fourth. He has won a career-high six consecutive starts, allowing two goals or fewer in each game for a .957 save percentage and 1.32 goals-against average.

This is the second week in a row that the Plzen, Czech Republic native has been one of the NHL's three stars, as he was named the league's first star for the week ending Feb. 23. It is also the second time in Francouz's career that he has earned Three Stars of the Week honors. He became the first Colorado player to earn one of the Three Stars in back-to-back weeks since the Three Stars began in 2006-07

This is the sixth time this season that an Avalanche player has been named as one of the NHL's stars of the week. Nathan MacKinnon has earned the honor three times (Nov. 18, Second Star; Dec. 2, First Star; Jan. 6, First Star) while Cale Makar was named Third Star on Nov. 11.

Minnesota Wild forward Kevin Fiala was named the first star for the week, while Nashville's blueliner Ryan Ellis earned second star honors.

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