Just when it seemed like the Colorado Avalanche were all but out of the race for the Western Conference Wild Card, Philipp Grubuaer finally started to play like the goaltender the Avalanche had traded for — and as a result, the NHL has given him a big nod for it.
The NHL announced on Monday morning that Grubauer has been named Third Star of the Week for the week of March 18-24th, getting the nod following arguably his best week of the season to date.
Grubuaer has earned a point in his last five consecutive games, winning four in a row — including three last week alone — and getting the Avalanche a crucial “loser point” in the one game he did lose on Sunday night. From March 18th to 24th, he allowed just six goals in the combined four games on the week, following up a shutout earned the Sunday prior. Altogether, he amassed a 1.49 goals-against average and .961 save percentage across the week.
Earning nine of a possible ten points catapulted the Avalanche back up and firmly into the playoff race, taking advantage of a poor stretch of play for both the Arizona Coyotes and the Minnesota Wild to sneak into the second Wild Card spot while bearing down on the Dallas Stars to boot. It skyrocketed Grubauer’s numbers, too, pushing him up to a far more comfortable .914 save percentage in 33 games on the season and giving him 16 quality starts overall.
The biggest question, of course, will be whether or not he can keep up the play over the final two weeks of the season. To get the team back into the race so firmly, though, is a sign that the Avalanche made the right call bringing him on board at the draft this past June.