WINNIPEG – Adam Werner says he had no time to really think about his hockey dream coming true.
The Colorado goalie unexpectedly made his NHL debut Tuesday and stopped all 40 shots he faced as the Avalanche shut out the Winnipeg Jets 4-0.
Werner replaced Pavel Francouz, who started in net for the Avalanche but only lasted 31 seconds before getting injured.
“Of course there’s some nerves, but you just get in there in a short time and I guess I just tried to have fun and play my game,” Werner said.
Francouz was run into by an off-balance Mark Scheifele and fell back and hit his head on the ice. He went to the dressing room and the 22-year-old native of Sweden stepped between the pipes for his first NHL game.
“You need to have a dream, and a big dream out there, and work for it and be prepared if something happened,” said Werner, who was called up from the Eagles, Colorado’s American Hockey League affiliate, on Nov. 7.
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar had no update on Francouz.
Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and two assists as Colorado (11-5-2) picked up its third straight victory.
“I’m really happy for him. It’s an amazing performance for (Werner),” MacKinnon said. “First start ever, came in so comfortably and made some huge saves. It wasn’t just an easy game for him.”
It was the first time this season the Jets (10-8-1) were shut out.
“I would say there was enough to get a couple by him,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said of Werner. “You got to give him credit, he did a good job. Puck was finding him.”
Connor Hellebuyck made 21 saves for Winnipeg, which ended its four-game homestand going 2-1-1. It was the Jets’ first regulation-time loss in six outings (4-1-1).
Rookie defenceman Cale Makar opened the scoring for the Avalanche. Joonas Donskoi had a power-play goal and two assists and Matt Calvert contributed a pair of assists.
Makar now has 18 points in 18 games to lead all NHL rookies. The Calgary native is also on a four-game point streak with four goals and three assists.
Colorado continues to overcome injuries to key players.
Starting netminder Philipp Grubauer missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury, but took part in some of the team’s practice on Monday. Top-line forwards Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog remain sidelined.
Bednar said Grubauer was “close” and day-to-day.
“(Werner) was awesome,” Bednar said, noting his skaters turned the puck over a lot. “He was making saves all over the place, 5-on-5 and on some of those turnovers and on the power play. He was real solid and square to the puck.”
Colorado, which was starting a five-game road trip, led 1-0 after the first period and held that lead after two.
The Avalanche had two power plays in the opening period, including Scheifele’s for goaltender interference. Makar hit the crossbar during the second man advantage.
Makar then scored when he got around Jets forward Mathieu Perreault and paused a moment before putting a low shot past Hellebuyck at 19:01.
Werner made a snapping glove save when Winnipeg sharpshooter Patrik Laine blasted a one-timer at him during a first-period power play. He also faced a 2-on-1 of Scheifele and Kyle Connor late in the second, but held up against Connor’s shot.
“You’d like to sustain some pressure and give yourself a chance to come back from a one-goal game,” Wheeler said. “We’ve been good about that all year. We’ve come back a number of times. Tonight, they just had the horse shoe in it.”
MacKinnon quickly gave the Avalanche a 2-0 lead when he scored his 10th goal of the season 18 seconds into the third period and added his second of the game at 7:13.
“It’s a lot like playing against (Connor) McDavid,” Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey said of MacKinnon. “He comes underneath on the rush and just seems to find a way to be in the right place at the right time and at full speed. He’s a great player.”
Donskoi finished the scoring with a power-play goal off a rebound at 13:13.
Winnipeg heads out for a four-game road trip, starting Thursday in Florida against the Panthers. Colorado travels to Edmonton to take on the Oilers Thursday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2019.
© 2019 The Canadian Press