Capitals White Wash Red Wings, 2-0, In Zach Fucale’s NHL Debut

Photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals defeated the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 2-0 at Little Caeser’s Arena on Thursday to earn their second straight win following a three-game losing streak. The victory lifted the Capitals into second place in the Metropolitan Division, one point ahead of the New York Rangers with both teams having played 13 games this season. Goaltender Zach Fucale made 21 saves for the shutout in his NHL debut, becoming the first Capital to do so..

Capitals’ Lines at Red Wings

Graphic: @Capitals

Center Connor McMichael was elevated to the second-line and Lars Eller dropped down to the fourth after Nic Dowd (lower-body injury) was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday. Left-wings Axel Jonsson-Fjallby and Carl Hagelin flipped spots in the bottom-six forward group. Center Aleksei Protas, who was recalled from the AHL’s Hershey Bears on Wednesday, played in Dowd’s spot.

Fucale became the 51st goaltender to play for the franchise and the third NHL one to make his league debut no younger than age 26 (Martin Brochu in 1998-99, 26; Michael Rosati in 1998-99, 30).

Injured: Dowd, C Nicklas Backstrom (hip), RW T.J. Oshie (lower-body), LW Anthony Mantha (shoulder), G Vitek Vanecek (lower-body)

First Period

Defenseman Dmitry Orlov blasted a shot from just above the left circle after center Evgeny Kuznetsov backhanded a feed to him by the half-wall to open the scoring at 12:43.

10 seconds later, Eller deked, pulled the puck back from his forehand to his forehand, and beat goaltender Thomas Greiss to the blocker after defenseman Nick Jensen forced a turnover by the Red Wings at the blueline and fed him down low to pad the Capitals’ lead. The two goals were the Capitals’ quickest back-to-back markers this season and it was the 11th time in franchise history they did so. It was the fastest since Alexander Semin and Sergei Fedorov scored nine seconds apart on April 3, 2009.

The Capitals led 7-4 in hits, 5-2 in blocked shots, had one giveaway while the Red Wings were credited with three, and did not get a power play in the first.

The Red Wings led 11-10 in shots, won 70% of the faceoffs, and did not score on their lone man advantage of the period.

Each term earned two takeaways in the opening 20 minutes.

Second Period

The Capitals led 22-15 in shots, including 12-4 in the second, 13-5 in hits, 11-6 in blocked shots, had three giveaways while the Red Wings had eight, and failed to take advantage of three power plays through 40 minutes.

The Red Wings led 3-2 in takeaways, won 58% of the draws, and did not score on four power plays in the first two periods.

Third Period

The Capitals led 29-21 in shots, including 7-6 in the third, 17-11 in hits, 15-8 in blocked shots, had five giveaways while the Red Wings had eight.

The Red Wings led 5-2 in takeaways and won 52% of the draws.

Each team did not score on four power play opportunities.

Fucale became the seventh goaltende in NHL history to earn a shutout in his league debut at age 26 or older.

Next game: at Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington)

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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2 Responses to Capitals White Wash Red Wings, 2-0, In Zach Fucale’s NHL Debut

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good road win. Solid defense tonight. Props to Fucale for sticking with his dream. An inspirational night for all.

  2. Jerry Levine says:

    The Caps power play and overtime woes are due in part to the fact they can’t win face offs. Last year the Caps brought in Peca to work with players on face offs and the numbers improved. Peca returned to coaching in the minors. Perhaps the Caps could sound out Jarvis or another strong ex player to play this role.

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