Francouz gets 1st shutout hours after new deal

NHL

ANAHEIM, Calif. — It was one of the best days of Pavel Francouz‘s life.

Francouz finalized a $4 million, two-year contract extension with the Colorado Avalanche, and then made 26 saves to record his first NHL shutout in the team’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 us. 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.

“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.”

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 past 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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