Fucale posts shutout in NHL debut, Capitals blank Red Wings

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Washington Capitals goalie Zach Fucale stops a Detroit Red Wings left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (59) shot in the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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.”

Fucale was 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.

“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.”


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,” Zach 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.


Capitals: Fucale was the fifth Capitals player to make his NHL debut this season. … Washington was without T.J. Oshie (left foot) for the sixth straight game, Anthony Mantha (shoulder) for the third straight game and Nic Dowd for the first game since Monday’s lower-body injury against Buffalo. Nicklas Backstrom (hip) has not played this season.

Red Wings: Detroit was going for its first four-game win streak since March 2019.


Capitals: Play at Columbus on Friday.

Red Wings: Host Montreal on Saturday.


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