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Grubauer still adjusting to backup role

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Grubauer still adjusting to backup role

Philipp Grubauer got the promotion he wanted this season from the AHL to the Caps' roster, but as Friday's game shows, he still is adjusting to life as a backup.

"I felt like I haven't played in a year," said Grubauer after Friday's game.

Starting goalies like to get into a rhythm and coaches are careful not to disturb that rhythm. But what about backup goalie who are called on sporadically? Those goalies do not have the benefit of developing a rhythm but are still expected to play well whenever they are called upon.

It is a transition not every goalie is able to make.

Last season, Grubauer played in 49 games for Hershey. Seven games into the season for the Caps, Grubauer has appeared in only one game. In that game, he stopped 19 out of 23 shots for an .826 save percentage.

RELATED: Trotz emphasizes improving in back-to-back games

"I thought he looked rusty and that's my fault, not his fault," Barry Trotz said. "He had to get some pucks to feel comfortable." He went on to say that he would have considered pulling Grubauer if he had allowed another goal.

That's how small the margin of error for a backup goaltender is.

Yet, Grubauer remained in and played stronger as the game continued, shutting out the Oilers in the final period as the Caps held on for the 7-4 win.

"It was nice to get into the game, shake the rust off a little bit and I think it got better as the game went on," Grubauer said. Trotz agreed with that assessment.

"He settled down. He finally saw some pucks. It's really hard to play the game when you don't feel pucks and they didn't have a lot of shots. It was a difficult game for him to play."

Despite the low save percentage, Grubauer got the win and that's what is ultimately important for a backup goalie as teams cannot afford to take a loss every time they give the starter the night off. That was a major reason for the Caps' struggles in back-to-back games last season.

When asked if there was anything he learned that will help him as he continues in this role this season Grubauer said, "You just got to prepare for the next time and take everything you can out of this game and just be ready for the next game."

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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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