The Detroit Red Wings got Fucale’d. Washington Capitals goaltender Zach Fucale stopped 21 Red Wings shots, and his Capitals defenders stopped 15 more attempts as the Washington Capitals defeated Detroit 2-0 on Thursday night, dropping Detroit to 7-6-and-2.
According to MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Red Wings were at least a part of history on Thursday night:
Zach Fucale did what no other goaltender has done to the Detroit Red Wings in their 95-year history – record a shutout against them in his NHL debut.
Fucale made 21 saves Thursday and the Washington Capitals defeated Detroit 2-0 at Little Caesars Arena, snapping the Red Wings’ three-game winning streak.
The Red Wings (7-6-2) didn’t exactly make Fucale work that hard. They failed to record a shot on goal during four power plays, including a length five-on-three advantage.
NBC Sports Washington’s Andrew Gillis took note of Fucale’s comments in his post-game interview on TV:
Zach Fucale seemed a bit flustered after the Capitals’ 2-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday in Detroit. After all, who wouldn’t have been?
Fucale, 26, earned a shutout in his NHL debut as the netminder stopped all 21 of the Red Wings’ shots on net. He’s the first goalie in Capitals history to earn a shutout in his NHL debut.
“This is one of the greatest moments so far in my hockey career,” Fucale said in a postgame interview with NBC Sports Washington on Caps Postgame Live. “What a great defensive game everybody played today. I’m a little bit speechless, guys, I’m sorry. This is happening pretty quickly right now.”
Fucale was given the start as Vitek Vanecek took a maintenance day. With the Capitals scheduled to play in less than 24 hours against the Columbus Blue Jackets, coach Peter Laviolette and the Capitals gave the net to Fucale.
The Capitals certainly made sure their new netminder was busy in the early going, as the Red Wings tallied 11 shots in the first period. But over the final 40 minutes they only totaled 10, and Fucale turned them all aside.
As Gillis notes in his main game story, Fucale benefited from a flurry of Capitals scoring…
The Capitals struck first when Dmitry Orlov fired a big slapshot into Detroit’s net with 7:17 left in the first period. The Capitals didn’t let the Red Wings recuperate.
Just 10 seconds later, the Capitals struck again when Lars Eller scored on a breakaway to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead in the blink of an eye. After a slow start where the Red Wings peppered Fucale, the Capitals were able to rebound in a big way with a pair of goals that ended up being the difference as the game’s only goals. Advertisement
The goal by Eller was his first of the season. Orlov’s tally was his second.
Former Red Wings defenseman Nick Jensen had a hand in Eller’s marker, and Jensen played out-of-his-mind good against his former team on Thursday evening.
But the moment was Fucale’s, as Washington Hockey Now’s Sammi Silber noted…
Fucale’s NHL debut has been a long time coming. He was taken by Montreal in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft and played with 13 different clubs in four different leagues: the QMJHL, ECHL, DEL and AHL before finally getting a start at the NHL level. The Capitals recalled Fucale from Hershey on Wednesday after Vitek Vanecek was banged up following Monday’s 5-3 win over Buffalo.
Not only did he get a wild celebration, but Trevor van Riemsdyk also awarded him with the shield postgame. Washington is giving out Vikings-themed awards after their wins to their best offensive player (axe) and defensive players (shield).
The moment was even more special for Fucale, whose parents were also in attendance for his first NHL start. He told them that he was starting before getting on the plane to Detroit, and both mom and dad, along with family friends, made it to Michigan in time. He also got a puck to celebrate the achievement.
“I can’t dream it better to be honest. This is a really great moment and at the end of the day, it’s a great win,” Fucale told reporters postgame. “It’s been a helluva journey. But now one’s out the way, we move on and we go to the next game. It’s a great moment, it really is. It’s a fun night, a real fun night.”
Capitals coach Peter Laviolette was happy for his goaltender, as he told the Washington Post’s Samantha Pell…
“It was awesome just watching him come back into the locker room and the guys showering him with water and cheering for him,” Capitals Coach Peter Laviolette said. “You always have roads and paths you can take in life and his road was long and he stayed on the right road.”
Fucale’s family was able to make the trip to see his debut after he learned he was getting the start Wednesday. His father, Jack, drove in from Montreal. His mother, Catherine, made the trip to Detroit from Toronto.
“I can’t dream it better to be honest. This is a really great moment and at the end of the day it is a great win and it has been a hell of a journey,” Fucale said.
All the offense the Capitals needed came in a 10-second span midway through the first period. Dmitry Orlov gave the Capitals a lead with a blast from the point 12:43 into the game. Lars Eller scored on a breakaway off the faceoff just 10 seconds later, getting his first of the season with a flashy move that beat Detroit goaltender Thomas Greiss (27 saves).
The two-goal lead stood up. The Red Wings, who peppered Fucale early, slowed down after the Capitals’ offensive burst, but Fucale withstood all of Detroit’s shots on goal as Washington kept pushing on the other end.
WashingtonCapitals.com’s Mike Vogel also took note of Laviolette’s assessment of his team’s performance as a whole…
“The first eight minutes we were just a little slow out of the gate,” says Caps coach Peter Laviolette. “And he was good, he was sharp. And then even through the course of the rest of the game, there was a couple of big saves that he had to make in there.
“You know, if they get that first goal and make it 2-1, then maybe they get some momentum and the building gets life. And so he made some big saves, and after the eight-minute mark [of the first] I thought our guys played really well.”
The Associated Press’s recap took note of the Capitals’ catch-phrases, as well as the Red Wings’ takes on what happened:
”He was good, he was sharp,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. ”And then even through the course of the rest of the game, there was a couple big saves that he had to make in there.”
Alex Ovechkin had an assist on the first goal for the Capitals, who opened a stretch of seven games in 11 days.
Orlov’s second goal of the season came off a pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov at 12:43. Eller scored his first goal after a takeaway from Nick Jensen.
”I thought we were playing our game until they got the two goals, and then they packed it in,” Red Wings center Dylan Larkin said. ”After that, we didn’t execute. We didn’t get the puck to the net and we didn’t create enough.”
Thomas Greiss made 27 saves for the Red Wings, who killed four penalties but could not convert on their four power-play chances.
”We didn’t shoot enough, and we didn’t get to pucks in front of the net,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. ”There were some rebounds and some shots that got blocked and ended up in front – we didn’t get there.”
Larkin was blunt regarding what ailed the Wings while speaking with the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:
“Washington made it real difficult on us, we couldn’t get the middle of the ice and we couldn’t generate a lot of offense,” Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin said. “Our power play wasn’t good enough. They’re hard on pucks on the walls and come back and protect the house. We didn’t get enough bodies there, and shots, and it’s the story of the game.”
Both teams had plenty of chances on the power play but neither was particularly effective. The Wings were scoreless on four attempts — including a 1 minute, 24 second two-man advantage in the second period — while Washington was 0-for-4, including a 1:49 two-man advantage, also in the second period.
“You have to find a way to score a goal,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “Certainly momentum is a part of it. But we had just killed a five-on-three they didn’t score on, and we get one, you have to find a way to score. It’s disappointing we didn’t. We had a couple of looks but not good enough. We have to shoot the puck on the power play and get pucks around the cage.”
It was an impressive road victory for the Capitals, who were without injured forwards, Anthony Mantha (former Red Wing, shoulder), Nicklas Backstrom (hip) and T.J. Oshie (lower body).
“They scored the first one on a shot from the point, you’re on the faceoff, you win the faceoff and it’s in your net (10) seconds later, that’s not good enough,” Blashill said. “We didn’t win a battle at the red line, we got on the wrong side of people and we gave up a two-on-one out of nowhere, nonsensical. That’s not a recipe to win.”
Fucale was impressive on several good chances the Wings had, but generally speaking, the Wings felt they could have made life harder for the 26-year-old rookie in his first NHL game.
“We didn’t get enough traffic, didn’t get enough shots,” Larkin said. “We didn’t make it hard enough on him. We had the five-on-three and we have to come out with something.”
Blashill told Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen that the Red Wings need to shoot to forecheck more regularly:
Shooting more isn’t as easy as it sounds. Players don’t like to shoot and get their shot blocked. It’s hard to convince yourself that a blocked shot can sometimes be a good play. It’s not easy to know when you should try to make one more pass to create a better lane for someone else or when you should shoot and create a pinball effect.
“If you don’t think you have a lane and you shoot it and it gets blocked, you feel like it is the wrong play,” Blashill said. “That’s what happens sometimes. The reality is: a lot of times the block ends up with chaos. It’s OK to make them block the shot. Getting past that and having more of an attack mentality… we will work through it.”
And DetroitRedWings.com’s Brett McWethy will wrap up our round-up of recaps with a similar story:
“I don’t think we shot enough pucks. We had opportunities to shoot pucks, and I didn’t think we got to enough rebounds,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “Those would be two things. There were rebounds there, not necessarily rebounds, but maybe fronted pucks that were lying there in the slot. We gotta find ways to get those to the cage.”
Detroit will wrap up its four-game homestand on Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens. The Capitals will travel to Columbus to conclude their road swing on Friday.
“Washington made it very difficult on us,” Dylan Larkin said. “We couldn’t get to the middle of the ice, we couldn’t generate a lot of offense, and our power play wasn’t nearly good enough. We had a 5-on-3 there, we’ve gotta score. Greisser kept us in it all night. It was like a chess match. They were better in the middle of the ice.”
Saturday’s puck drop is set for 7 p.m., with broadcast coverage on Bally Sports Detroit and the Red Wings Radio Network.
I know that the Winged Wheel Podcast meet-up is on Saturday, and I hope that everyone in attendance gets a win. I can’t attend due to some family reasons, but I will be there in spirit!
Highlights: Sportsnet posted an 8:19 highlight clip:
NHL.com posted an 8:58 highlight clip:
Post-game: NBC Sports Washington posted a clip of Zach Fucale’s post-game interview:
The Capitals also celebrated Fucale’s shutout win:
Yeah, hockey teams can get weird.
Anyway, here’s Fucale’s post-game presser…
“I can’t dream it better to be honest. This is a really great moment and that’s a great win. It’s been a helluva journey. But now one’s out of the way, we move on and we go to the next game.”
Zach Fucale postgame.#CapsWings pic.twitter.com/wvNpAH02Ve— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 12, 2021
And the Capitals posted coach Peter Laviolette’s post-game comments as well:
“You always have roads and paths you can take in life and his road was long. He stayed on the right road and he gets the starting game tonight and get rewarded with a big win. It’s pretty awesome.”
Head coach Peter Laviolette after tonight’s win in Detroit.#CapsWings | @socios pic.twitter.com/dNNbs7KAhC— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 12, 2021
Bally Sports Detroit posted a 3:21 clip of Dylan Larkin’s post-game remarks:
Bally Sports Detroit also posted 1:20 of coach Jeff Blashill’s post-game presser…
And a little Mickey Redmond won’t hurt ya:
WXYZ’s Brad Galli posted a 5:37 clip of Larkin’s post-game comments…
And a full 6:02 clip of coach Blashill’s post-game comments:
The Red Wings distilled Larkin and Blashill’s remarks down to 2:19:
Photos: The Free Press posted a 16-image gallery;
The Detroit News posted a 12-image gallery;
NHL.com posted a 37-image gallery.