What defines a Stanley Cup-winning team isn’t their regular-season performance, and ask any of the other playoff teams if they care about your President’s Trophy. Cup contenders also aren’t defined by one game—win or lose—and you can’t expect to win 16 straight en route to lifting Lord Stanley.
But the Avs have won their first six straight. Their most recent one wasn’t pretty—and they probably shouldn’t have won it.
But they did. And they have their Vezina Trophy-finalist goaltender to thank for stealing it for them.
“We needed Grubi in a big way tonight, and he showed up for us,” head coach Jared Bednar said after Game 2.
His teammates, too, showered him with praise.
“He bailed us out today,” Mikko Rantanen said. “He had a really, really good game and he kept us in. He was basically the reason we got to OT. Grubi was awesome and for sure our best player in the game.”
“He was unbelievable,” Brandon Saad agreed. “We wouldn’t have got to that point in the game if he wasn’t in net. He did a great job back there.”
Saad also revealed that Grubauer earned “The Chain” after his Game 2 performance, a team award given to their best player after each win. The most recent chain-bearer chooses the next after each game. For those wondering, it was Cale Makar who earned it Game 1, and he made the easy choice of crowning Grubauer with the gold-plated links after the Game 2 victory.
“We didn’t have our best night in front of him, and he made some key saves for us, changed some momentum swings; he deserved it,” Saad said of the chain.
And if you ask me, he deserves to win the Vezina as well. Biases aside.