If the Capitals go on to win the Stanley Cup in June, goaltender Philipp Grubauer did enough to get his name etched onto the big, silver chalice, despite the fact that he returned to the AHL Hershey Bears on Tuesday.
Eleven days after stopping 18 shots in a 4-3 win in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, Grubaer was re-assigned to the Bears on Tuesday, where he will be eligible to play in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs. The Bears lead their best-of-five series with the Worcester Sharks two games to none and can sweep the series with a win in Game 3 Wednesday night at the GiantCenter in Hershey.
Grubauer was recalled by the Capitals on April 17 after starter Braden Holtby fell ill during Game 1 of the Capitals’ series against the New York Islanders.
Grubauer, 23, made his NHL playoff debut that same night and became the fifth rookie goaltender in Capitals history to pick up a win in his playoff debut. He was the seventh rookie goaltender to start a playoff game in franchise history, joining Braden Holtby (2012), Michal Neuvirth (2011), Semyon Varlamov (2009, 2010), Jim Carey (1995), Byron Dafoe (1994) and Bob Mason (1987). Grubauer is also the first German-born goaltender to start a playoff game in NHL history.
Following that win, Grubauer has served as the Caps’ backup behind Holtby, but with Holtby now healthy, those duties will fall to backup Justin Peters, who has never played in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Grubauer posted a 27-17-5 record with six shutouts, a 2.30 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage in 49 games with Hershey this season.
He finished the season ranked tied for third in the AHL in wins and shutouts, tied for eighth in save percentage and 12th in the League in goals-against average.