Capitals

Zach Fucale earns shutout in NHL debut as Capitals beat Wings 2-0

Capitals

The Capitals had a good start in the first half of a road back-to-back with a 2-0 win over the Red Wings on Thursday in Detroit. They’ll play once more in less than 24 hours against the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

Here are a few takeaways from the Capitals’ victory over the Red Wings:

Fucale debuts with a shutout

Zach Fucale's NHL debut went exactly the way he'd hoped. In fact, he was perfect. 

He stopped all 21 of the Red Wings' shots on net in his NHL debut, as the 26-year-old had a first night to remember in the NHL. This season for the Hershey Bears, he's played five games and allowed just nine goals with a .933 save percentage.

Fucale got the start after being called up Wednesday with Vitek Vanecek a bit banged up and needing a maintenance day. He was the first-ever Capitals goalie to earn a shutout in his NHL debut.

Lightning strikes twice

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.

 

The goal by Eller was his first of the season. Orlov’s tally was his second. 

Top line keeps producing

Through the first 13 games of the season, it’s no secret that the Capitals have been carried by their top line. Thursday in Detroit, they kept putting up points. 

On Orlov’s first period goal, both Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin picked up assists, good for their 12th and 11th helpers of the season, respectively. It was Kuznetsov’s 301st assist and Ovechkin’s 601st of his career.

With an entire top-six line out (Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Anthony Mantha), the Capitals have needed their top line to play like one of the best lines in hockey through the first month of the season. And that they have.

Looking ahead

After Fucale’s strong start against the Wings, it’s fair to imagine he’s earned a few more starts this season. 

With Vanecek taking a maintenance day, Fucale was given the net with another game in less than 24 hours against the Blue Jackets in Columbus. While coach Peter Laviolette hasn’t indicated one way or the other, it’s expected Ilya Samsonov will get the net against the Blue Jackets. 

Still, it was an impressive showing for Fucale in his NHL debut as he looks to find his way into the mix of the young netminding trio with Vanecek and Samsonov.