Washington Capitals backup goaltender Phillip Grubauer came into Friday night’s game with zero wins in the eight games he had appeared in this season. Grubauer, who turns 26 years old on Saturday, had posted mediocre numbers coming into the late afternoon post-Thanksgiving matchup against the Tampa Bay Lighting. He has allowed over three and a half goals per game and has a poor save percentage. But Grubauer had also been the victim of bad luck, with poor run support from his Caps teammates.
Primarily playing in the back end of back-to-back games, Grubauer had given up 22 goals in the six games he started. He gave up six goals against the Colorado Avalanche on November 16 and eight goals against the Philadelphia Flyers on October 14.
After a 3-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on November 7, Grubauer let his frustration out.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” Grubauer said to the media. “I’m sick of fucking losing.”
But finally, a month and a half into the season, Grubauer got his first win with his mom and dad, who are visiting from Germany, in attendance. Last year, Grubauer earned a shutout on his birthday.
“Same as last year, my parents were here, so I’m really proud to give them a good game and get the win for the boys,” Grubauer said after the game. “Feels good to get the two points. They should’ve come more often.”
The boys, in turn, felt good to add a victory to Grubauer’s statline, especially after the goalie had a puck flip over his back giving Tampa an early lead.
“I was laughing; here we go again,” Grubauer said.
Last season, Grubauer won 13 of his 19 appearances, putting up a 2.04 goals against average and a .926 save percentage, and he is considered talented enough to be a starting goaltender in the NHL.
“He obviously deserves a big win,” Beagle said. “He made some huge saves at huge times.”
“It’s unfortunate. You don’t want to go down that early, but we responded really well,” Beagle continued, referring to the opening tally a mere one minute and 22 seconds into the game. “Grubi stood on his head and it was just a solid game by everyone.”
The Capitals are far less talented this season than the previous campaign. That has been a significant factor in hindering the German netminder’s performance.
“We got him more than a goal!” Trotz quipped. “I know the guys were thrilled to get him a win.”
Fact check: yep.
Additional reporting by Ian Oland.
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