WASHINGTON — Following the Washington Capitals’ 3-2 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, Darcy Kuemper was blunt with regard to his performance, not coming up with any excuses.
“Let’s call a spade a spade, they’re bad goals,” Kuemper said of the two Flyers strikes he surrendered in the victory.
On Friday against the Calgary Flames, he was ready to redeem himself and did just that. He came up huge, controlling his rebounds, tracking the puck and not giving the Flames anything. He ended the night with 32 saves en route to his second shutout of the season.
“Tonight wasn’t about last game, it was about building off that win,” Kuemper said. “We’ve been talking about stringing a few wins together, so that was the focus tonight, just to come in and kind of do my job and help the team the best I can.”
However, for the Capitals, there was some meaning tied in with regard to that last game; it said a lot about Kuemper’s character.
“It shows his ability to compete, his ability to let things go,” T.J. Oshie said of the 32-year-old. “You need that in a No. 1 goaltender back there. We have all the confidence in the world in him, we see it every day and today was no different… he deserved [the shutout]. He’s worked really hard, [he’s] a big part of what we need to do here.”
Alex Ovechkin agreed, saying that No. 35 was a big part of the team’s ability to string together two wins going into a six-game road swing.
“I think both games, Kuemps gave us an opportunity. Make a big save, keep us in the game,” Ovechkin said, adding, “He has lots of experience. He’s a Stanley Cup champ, he knows how to handle this situation. And obviously, you can see how he play, how many big saves he makes. That’s why he have a shutout.”
Through 17 games this season, Kuemper is 7-9-1 with a .914 save percentage. He leads all NHL netminders in ice time with 970:13 minutes.
Going forward, Kuemper, who signed a five-year deal to join Washington this offseason, said that he believes the team is ready to turn the corner. And he’s ready to be a part of that in any way he can.
“We’re still very confident in the group we got here. We’re definitely not happy with how the season started. But we’re confident that we’re going to turn it around… we’re going to go and make it happen. And you know, the last two games have been a step in that direction.”