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Zach Fucale first Washington Capitals goaltender to post shutout in NHL debut

12:03 AM ET
  • ESPN News Services

DETROIT -- Zach Fucale became the first goaltender in Capitals history to post a shutout in his NHL debut, stopping 21 shots as Washington beat the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 Thursday night.

 

Dmitry Orlov and Lars Eller scored 10 seconds apart in the first period as the Capitals ended Detroit's three-game win streak.

 

The 26-year-old Fucale was picked by Montreal in the second round of the 2013 draft. He was 3-0-2 this season for Hershey before the Capitals called him up this week from the American Hockey League.

 

"I can't dream it better, to be honest," Fucale said. "This is a really great moment. At the end of the day, it's a great win, and it's been a hell of a journey.

 

"But now one is out of the way, we move on and we go to the next game. That's the reality of it."

 

"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."

 

Fucale also became the first goaltender to shut out the Red Wings in his NHL debut in Detroit's 95 seasons. He came up big early as Detroit controlled play for the first 8 minutes.

 

Fucale found out he was starting on Wednesday night and his father, Jack, drove down from Montreal. His mother, Catherine, came from Toronto, where she was working.

 

"They kind of just met here, some family friends made it as well," Fucale said. "I'm real happy. This is really cool that they're here."

 

Fucale got a big dousing of water from teammates upon entering the locker room after the win.

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ZACH FUCALE LIVES OUT HIS DREAM

Ryan Dadoun
BY RYAN DADOUN
November 12, 2021, 2:17 am ET
 

Zach Fucale has become a great argument in favor of sticking with something you love, even when times are difficult. Originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 2013, his journey to the NHL was a long one. He spent large stints of it in the ECHL and as recently as 2019-20, he was primarily an ECHL goaltender.

 

After being drafted, Montreal did sign him to a three-year entry level contract, but after that deal was done the Canadiens decided against making him a qualifying offer, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.

 

He signed a one-year deal with Vegas in 2018, but again he didn’t get a qualifying offer after that contract was done. Unable to get another two-way deal, he instead signed with AHL Syracuse in July 2019 until they released him in February 2020.

 

Things started to turn around for him when he signed a two-way deal with Washington in 2020 and then they singed him to a two-year extension in March 2021.

 

He wasn’t part of the team’s plans for the NHL roster, but he was part of their depth and with Vitek Vanecek unavailable due to injury, Fucale got his first shot to play in the NHL last night at the age of 26. What followed was a storybook shutout victory to kick off his NHL career.

 

 

"I can't dream it better to be honest,” Fucale told the press. “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."

 

He might find himself back in the AHL soon, but he’s shown he can play at this level and with that being accomplished, it wouldn’t be surprising if he gets another opportunity.

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Zachary Fucale, The Zachary Fucale? 

 

I thought he quit hockey or he was playing in some beer league in northern Kazakhstan.

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Was a wizard winning the memorial cup with my Halifax Mooseheads.

 

Was looking at the Roster to remember the Drouin/Mackinnon days and I just realized Mackenzie Weegar was on the team back then too. never expected him to be much but damn, he is looking good in Florida these days

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3 minutes ago, J0e Th0rnton said:

Was looking at the Roster to remember the Drouin/Mackinnon days and I just realized Mackenzie Weegar was on the team back then too. never expected him to be much but damn, he is looking good in Florida these days

 

That was hell of a hockey machine. I saw them in QC City (Duclair and Erne were with the Remparts) back then but they completely lost it: about 350 penalty minutes, 9 game misconducts, at a moment they were 8 Halifax players on the bench, 8 on the penalty box. Halifax lost 8-2 and played almost half of the game in inferiority. The game started at 7pm, ended close to midnight.

 

The best $15 ever spent.

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