The Colorado Avalanche went out of its way to bring in goaltender Philipp Grubauer via trade during the offseason to be their heir apparent in goal, but with Semyon Varlamov playing well throughout this season, Grubauer hasn’t had much of a chance to claim that role. However, that might be changing.
With the team having lost five of their last seven games and Varlamov struggling, the team got a brilliant performance from Grubauer on Tuesday as he saved 35 shots in a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. After that performance, The Athletic’s Ryan S. Clark (subscription required) wonders if this is the turning point where Grubauer takes over as the team’s No. 1 goaltender. With Varlamov slated to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, the team needs for Grubauer to take that next step and that looks to be the case. In the last six starts (not including Friday’s 2-1 loss to Chicago), the 27-year-old is 5-0-1 with a 2.29 GAA and a .936 save percentage.
“(Grubauer) gives us a chance. He gives us a real good chance,” head coach Jared Bednar said. “He keeps it at 1-0 and guys are saying the right things on the bench. … I just felt like he looked really solid in the net. Like he was in control tonight. I haven’t felt that way about our goaltending for the last little bit and that’s what we need.
- The Athletic’s Scott Powers (subscription required) writes that when winger Brendan Perlini was traded from the Arizona Coyotes to Chicago Blackhawks, he had high hopes that a change of scenery would jumpstart his career as he has struggled to put up points. However, while the Blackhawks liked what they have seen from center Dylan Strome, Perlini quickly found himself on the team’s fourth line and even found himself a healthy scratch early on. “To be honest, you never like to sit, but it’s good because I can watch the game and say, OK, here’s certain spots where maybe I can get the puck or things like that or realize watching I can settle down there, there’s a lot more time than I actually think. Like I said, you never like watching, but you can take good things from it. I think I’ve done that and just try to build off it and learn every day.” Perlini since then has looked much more comfortable and has picked up a couple of goals in the past four games. The hope is he continues to make adjustments in Chicago’s lineup.
- Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun writes that with the impressive play shown by Winnipeg Jets’ goaltender Laurent Brossoit can be attributed back to last year when the back-up lost his job in Edmonton to Al Montoya and he found himself in the AHL for the remainder of the season. That experience made him work harder to get back to the NHL. “Now I’m more aware of who I am as a goalie and as a professional, if that makes any sense,” said Brossoit. “It was unfortunate I had to go through those growing pains during my biggest opportunity with that club. I wouldn’t say that I performed at the level I normally do.” Brossoit was offered to return to Edmonton, but instead opted to start fresh in Winnipeg.