Everyone Is Writing About Philipp Grubauer and We Will Too

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Posted November 25, 2016

(Grubauer practices before the game. Caps Outsider)

The stage was set for Caps back-up goaltender Philipp Grubauer on Friday, as he got to start in front of the home crowd on his 25th birthday, with his parents in from Germany to see him play for the first time in the NHL. The only thing that could’ve made the 3-1 win even more special was if it had been German Heritage Night – which happens to be on Dec. 1, the next home game. It’s like when all of the planets are in alignment, except the one that’s a week late.

Perhaps he would’ve done it regardless of the circumstances, but he made 32 saves and was the first star of the game, and that’s all that mattered to him. “It’s more important for me to get the two points,” he said. “I’m focussed on the game and not on my parents. When the puck drops it’s all business.”

Karl Alzner made a slightly bigger deal of it. “We knew it was his birthday. We didn’t know his parents were here though. We didn’t play very well in front of Grubi last year. He got some tough starts. Played against hard teams in back-to-backs. One of the things we talked about before the season was when Grubi goes in, we gotta give him a better effort. It’s not fair to him. We could’ve played really bad tonight and he still probably could’ve stole us that game. He was just solid tonight. We’re happy to get a quiet guy like Grubi a big win.”

Coach Barry Trotz also praised him after the game, including emphasizing his birthday. “His parents had never seen him play, which was sorta cool, and I thought he played really well.”

It was Grubauer’s fifth start of the season and 45th start of his NHL career. Like starter Braden Holtby, Grubauer went through the typical Caps goalie development program, playing for the South Carolina Stingrays and Reading Royals of the ECHL, the Hershey Bears, and now Washington.

In other news, Daniel Winnik also scored a goal, which was extra special because it was his dog Mario’s 4th birthday.

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