Arizona Coyotes goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper caused a scare Thursday night when he was injured while making a save during his team’s 8-5 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
Kuemper was down for a few moments before Arizona’s medical staff and his teammate Jakob Chychrun helped him out of the ice. The netminder seemed to leave the game in considerable pain – he was heard shouting in frustration and hitting his ice blocker as he left the surface of the game.
Arizona coach Rick Tocchet had not been informed of Kuemper’s condition after the game.
The Coyotes, who have led the Pacific Division by 44 points through December 19, owe much of their success to Kuemper this season. The .929 is averaging 2.17 goals – on average, the second-most NHL goal haul in at least 20 games. Arizona allows just 2.33 goals per game, second best among the league’s 31 teams, despite allowing 32 receptions per game, 11th in the NHL.
Thursday’s loss was not the best moment of Kuemper’s season – he allowed seven goals in 32 shots before leaving – but his game made me a candidate for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best ever.
A long-term absence from injury for Kuemper could hurt his team’s play-off chances. The Coyotes haven’t made the playoffs since 2012, and general manager John Chayka this week negotiated an asterisked Taylor Hall, signaling the franchise’s desire to have a deep post-2020 season.