Philipp Grubauer Proving Himself as a Number One Goalie

Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

When you have started 249 games in the past four seasons like Braden Holtby has, the odds are that you start to get a little tired. That has been the case for Holtby as he went through his longest winless streak of his career of six games (0-4-2) recently. He performed well against Toronto, making 27 saves in a 5-2 win at the NHL Stadium Series last Saturday but had a rough night against the Ducks at Honda Center on Tuesday, stopping only six out of nine shots before getting pulled for his seventh loss in his last eight games. 

Fortunately for the Capitals, they are able to give Holtby a break to reset before the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin next month because they have two number one goalies.

While Holtby has struggled with a save percentage of .816 during in his last eight games, backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer has performed sensational. He has a .975 save percentage at even strength since October 29, the highest save percentage in the NHL during that span.

Since that time, Grubauer is 9-6-2 and has a .968 save percentage and a 1.83 goals against average in 23 appearances and is 9-8-3 in 27 appearances this season with a .925 save percentage and a 2.25 goals against average.

Grubauer has been great once again after Capitals’ coach Barry Trotz decided to turn to him for the final two games of the California road swing, recording a save percentage of .965 and the first shutout win of the season for the Capitals in a 2-0 win against the San Jose Sharks, making 24 saves. He also made 26 saves on 28 shots in the Capitals’ 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

Grubauer’s .925 save percentage is ranked eighth among all NHL goalies and is 2.25 goals against average is fourth.

With the luxury the Capitals have with two number one goalies on the roster, Grubauer’s dominance allows Holtby to rest and get out of his funk and gives the Capitals’ the comfort of doing so. He could make his third consecutive start when the Capitals host the Winnipeg Jets at Capital One Arena on Monday night, where he will be searching for his sixth win in his past seven starts.

By Harrison Brown


About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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24 Responses to Philipp Grubauer Proving Himself as a Number One Goalie

  1. If the Caps had an MVP award every couple of weeks, right now it’s Grubauer

  2. DayOne Caps Fanatic says:

    There are thirty-one franchises in the National Hockey League. Thirty of them would have benched Holtby months ago. Many Stanley Cup Championships have been won with the “backup” goaltender. Grubauer deserves his shot as the REAL number one goalie, not just as a placeholder while the other poor performer “resets” or “rests” or “gets out of his funk.” The Caps have already wasted 90% of the Ovechkin era. Put in Grubauer and stay with him. Scotty Bowman would do this … are you listening, Caps’ Brass?

    • NO, Day One, I’m afraid not…with our luck Trotz, Ted Leonsis and Brian MacLellan are likely planning a ticker tape parade for the HoltBeast as these words are being typed…

      Unfortunately I still get the feeling that there are scores of Caps fans (and not a few local beat writers here) who think we’ll (somehow) improve our roster by letting Grubauer go this off-season in exchange for God alone knows who or what…


      PS: In case you haven’t guessed I agree with you 228%…………..

  3. If Barry Trotz is smart (not a given) he’ll play Philipp Grubauer the rest of the way with intermittent breathers…If he isn’t, he’ll get sentimental, reinstate Holtby as the lead goalie, watch his team exit the playoffs in the second round (or sooner) for the third time in as many years and then get pink slipped by GMBM (if MacLellan has three brain cells firing in unison–also not a given)…


    Sta. Monica

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  5. ered says:

    so now what does your newly signed uninformed next year with grub?he will have to be paid as will karlson.that will leave no money to sign beagle wilson or the other 7 or 8 roster positions you need to fill.and oh by the way not many draft picks.b mac has you circling the bowl!

    • Just my gut, but some players are worth keeping. In my view, Grubauer is one of them. You trim fat somewhere else on your roster–particularly since really good goaltenders are hard to come by and impossible to do without if you have aspirations of winning a Stanley Cup…

      By now GMBM should be able to figure out how to do that. If not then he ought to be in another line of work…



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