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Grubauer not concerned about time off for Avalanche between series

Goalie using break to recover, prepare for second round

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Philipp Grubauer isn't concerned that the time off between Stanley Cup Playoff series for the Colorado Avalanche could affect the groove he's been in for the past month.

"It's like a week off, not even probably," the goalie said after practice Tuesday. "It's nice to have a couple days off to recover."

The Avalanche, who eliminated the Calgary Flames with a 5-1 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round on Friday, will play the San Jose Sharks or Vegas Golden Knights in the second round. That best-of-7 series was being decided in Game 7 at San Jose on Tuesday.

 

[RELATED: Avalanche stay patient, have no preference for second-round opponent]

 

But the waiting game doesn't bother Grubauer. He was the backup to Braden Holtby with the Washington Capitals for three seasons before being traded to Colorado in the offseason, where he began the season as the backup to Semyon Varlamov, who started 46 of the first 68 games.  

"As a backup, you don't play for two weeks," Grubauer said. "Like this year, I didn't play much for 12 weeks, a few games, and then all of a sudden, you play every game."

Video: Avs advance to Second Round for first time since 2008

Grubauer started 11 of the final 14 regular-season games after coach Jared Bednar decided to stay with the hot hand, and he went 8-1-2 with a 1.52 goals-against average and .954 save percentage to help the Avalanche earn the second wild card from the West.

His strong play continued against the Flames in the first round, when he went 4-1 with a 1.90 GAA and .939 save percentage. He allowed seven goals in four straight wins following a 4-0 loss in Game 1.

Video: Avalanche look to keep the magic going against Sharks

"The way we played (at the end) in the regular season, it's carried over to the postseason," Grubauer said. "We grinded it out and we got it done. Treating every game of the regular season as a Game 7 helped us a lot. You work hard in practice, you try to perform on the ice in the games and get the results the team needs, to be there for the boys and hopefully play consistently."

Grubauer said his confidence entering the postseason didn't waver despite a disappointing performance with Washington in the playoffs last season. He allowed eight goals in the first two games of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and didn't play the remainder of the playoffs after being replaced in Game 2 by Holtby, who helped the Capitals win the Stanley Cup.

Video: CGY@COL, Gm4: Grubauer lifts pad for terrific OT save

"There's a whole year in between," Grubauer said. "I can't really tell you one thing that changed for me this year. I think playing at the end of the regular season helped me a lot to get into the rhythm and to get to that performance where I needed to be. One thing I learned last year, you can't really look too far ahead. It's one game at a time, one situation at a time. It's a team sport and everyone is playing well.

"I think no one really knew what to expect from Calgary or from us, so I think we've raised the bar really high and we've got to continue to raise the bar against the next opponent. We won one round, I don't think anybody's satisfied. We've got to make sure we stay in the moment, we don't look ahead, we don't look back."

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