For most of Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Wild, goaltender Zach Fucale hadn’t allowed a puck to get past him. But on the Wild’s first shot they got past him all night, they tied the game at two.
Due to a bonkers play in the second period where the Capitals committed an own goal with their net empty on a delayed penalty, the Capitals’ goalie ended the night having just allowed one goal in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Wild.
In total, he made 21 of 22 saves in his third-ever NHL appearance and second-ever start as he impressed once again between the pipes for the Capitals at a time when they needed it most.
In his three appearances so far this year, he’s allowed just one goal on 49 shots on net in 143 minutes and 42 seconds in the net. With his start to the game, he set the NHL record for the longest streak without allowing a goal to start a career.
Some saves were routine, as he looked the part of an NHL goaltender that has been around the block for the entirety of the game. And some were highlight reel, notably a save early in overtime where he dove to his left, fully outstretched to deflect a shot over the net. It just counted as one shot attempt, but it kept the Capitals alive for the time being.
Fucale’s future is becoming increasingly interesting in Washington, as he’s played remarkably well in three games and proven he can handle a game where the team needs him to carry a significant workload.
The issue is just how much competition the Capitals can handle, as Ilya Samsonov has played well over the last nearly two months, and Vitek Vanecek should return to the net in the next few games. In fact, a big (if not the only) reason Fucale earned the start against the Wild was because the team had played the night before in St. Louis, and Vanecek was out with an illness.
But in a strong performance against the Wild, one where he nearly held a team off the board for his second-straight start, his play has brought how much of a look he deserves at the NHL level, in the immediate future, into question.