Philipp Grubauer’s Other Career Playoff Start: Caps Biggest Playoff Win Since 1998

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Posted April 11, 2018

Philipp Grubauer will be the starter on Thursday night, making his second career playoff start. His first, was arguably the biggest playoff win in Caps history since the 1998 Stanley Cup Final Run.

Yes, one can argue that Sergei Fedorov scoring in game seven against the New York Rangers in 2009 was big, but if it had not been for Grubauer’s win in game two against the New York Islanders in 2015, the Caps roster would look entirely different.

2015 was Barry Trotz’s first season as coach. Eric Fehr, Mike Green, Troy Brouwer and many others were still on the roster that have since moved on. The Caps lost game one on home ice and could easily have found themselves down 2-0 heading back to Long Island. Braden Holtby was sick and Justin Peters had been the backup all year and had not performed well. In comes Grubauer.

While Grubauer did allow three goals in the first two periods, he shut the door in the third allowing the Caps to come back and win the game 4-3 and head back to Long Island with a 1-1 series rather than being in a 2-0 hole.

If the Caps lost that game, they probably would have lost the series. If the Caps lost that series, they probably do not go out and get TJ Oshie and Justin Williams. Without these additions, the team probably does not go in “all-in” mode and who knows what the franchise would look like.

While Grubauer does only have one career playoff start, it is clear that he can come up big. While this postseason the expectations are far lower than they have been in years past, it is important to remember how the Caps got here. If Grubauer and the Caps laid an egg against the Islanders in game two three years ago, who knows what would have happened.

Caps fans should have full confidence in Grubauer heading into game one this season as he has already proven he can come up big when the spotlight is on.