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Grubauer to get more starts in final stretch of the season

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Grubauer to get more starts in final stretch of the season

At the start of February in 2015, the Caps had 33 games remaining in their regular season schedule. Braden Holtby ended up playing in 30 of those games. His workload won't be quite as heavy this year.

With the Caps locked in a tight race in the standings and backup justin Peters struggling (.881 save percentage in 2014-15), Holty was called upon to carry the team on his shoulders out of sheer necessity. Holtby may be a goalie who likes to play as often as possible, but starting 72 games as he did in that season is hardly what anyone would call an ideal situation.

This season, however, he won't have to.

In his first full season at the NHL level, goaltender Philipp Grubauer seems to be growing into his new role behind Holtby.

RELATED: Trotz says Johansson unlikely to play Tuesday

"First half was a little bit different for me to adjust," Grubauer said. "Obviously I don't play as much as I used to in the last years, but now I got some quality time with [goalie coach Mitch Korn]. ... It's a little bit tougher if you don't play every game, you don't start to get in a groove and it's just getting used to be ready on the bench. That's what I'm trying to do."

In 11 games this season, Grubauer has registered a .925 save percentage with a 2.12 GAA and has become a backup the team knows it can rely on. That will mean more opportunities for the Rosenheim, Germany native down the stretch.

"Depending on our schedule, there's a good chance he could get probably 25 percent of the games," head coach Barry Trotz said. That would translate into eight or nine games for Grubauer in the next 10 weeks and somewhere around 20 for the season. That number will start on Tuesday as Grubauer will get the start over Holtby against the Florida Panthers.

Though Holtby did not seem to suffer any ill effects in the playoffs in 2015, a few more nights off for Holtby couldn't hurt.

"Holts can't play every game," Grubauer said. "He wants to, but he can't so you've got to make sure I help out here."

MORE CAPITALS: Caps prepare to face Panthers without Ovechkin

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

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Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

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Twitter/City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

The Washington Capitals official #ALLCAPS hashtag started in 2017 during a Caps-Penguins game after the Pittsburgh Penguins' official Twitter account decided to tweet in all lowercase letters during the game. 

Now, as the Caps look to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final ahead of Game 1 Monday, Vegas has followed suit by changing their iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to include only lowercase letters, a jab at the Capitals #ALLCAPS.

Additionally, the City's official Twitter account has changed their handle to "the city of las vegas" without any capital letters and the hashtag #nocaps.

It will be interesting to see how the Capitals' official Twitter will respond...

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