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He’s only played one NHL game, but Troy Grosenick already has a signature celebration.
Right after the goaltender put the final touches on a 45-save shutout in his NHL debut on Sunday in Carolina, Grosenick picked up the water bottle from the top of the net and rolled it towards the bench like a bowling ball, finishing off the move with an enthusiastic, solitary fist pump just before his teammates mobbed him with their congratulations.
[RELATED: Instant Replay: Grosenick shuts out Hurricanes in NHL debut]
“It’s just something that I’ve done for a couple years now. I figure shooters get to celebrate when they score so a goalie should get to celebrate when they win,” Grosenick told CSN’s Jamie Baker after the game.
It was an emotional night for the 25-year-old, who was recalled only after Alex Stalock was hurt one week ago. Grosenick’s parents, brother, fiancée and uncle were in attendance for the 2-0 Sharks victory in which the goaltender had to be on top of his game while playing behind what was a listless San Jose team.
While the Sharks’ performance of getting outshot 45-19 is concerning when considering they were coming off of a loss and should have been motivated to get a young goaltender his first win, it didn’t take away from what was arguably the best performance this season from a San Jose goalie.
“Did we expect a shutout on 45 shots? No, but he played extremely well, and we certainly believed he could do that,” said Todd McLellan, who hadn’t seen Grosenick in action since a preseason game on Sep. 23. “To get a young man like that to come in and steal us a game when we didn’t have our A-game … Yet, I thought as the night wore on we wanted to do it more and more for him, and we improved.
"We’re really happy for him. A pretty emotional locker room for our goaltender.”
Grosenick relayed his interesting approach to games, saying that he breaks them up into five-minute segments and tries to pitch a shutout in each segment. When it got late, he wasn’t thinking about securing a shutout in his first NHL appearance.
“That’s the way I’ve approached it for four or five years now. You’re never thinking too far ahead that way, you’re just trying to streak together five-minute shutouts,” he said.
Grosenick maintained his composure throughout the game, never having much time to rest as the Hurricanes generated 89 shot attempts to just 36 by the Sharks.
For some inexplicable reason the Sharks didn’t look prepared to play very hard in front of Grosenick early. As time wore on, though, the motivation increased, according to McLellan.
“As the night went on I didn’t think we were engaged too early, but as it went deeper and deeper, the players believed they could get the job done because he was playing so well,” McLellan said. “We started to play the way we needed to, and they still came after us.
“The points are important, but in the back of their mind, the veteran players and the whole bench are thinking about Troy in goal and wanting to get it done for him. You’re still trying to remain calm and focus on the task at hand.”
No one was calmer and more focused than Grosenick.
“It’s kind of a dream come true,” he said. “Just like you write it up when you’re a little kid, I guess.”