The Washington Capitals made another roster move prior to Friday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, calling up goaltender Zach Fucale from Hershey for precautionary reasons.
Fucale had last been up with the club last week when Washington brought him on board as a precautionary measure for back-to-back games against Pittsburgh and Buffalo. This appears to be the same thing, with nothing happening with regard to Ilya Samsonov or Vitek Vanecek.
The 26-year-old netminder has made been working to put himself on the radar in Washington. He posted a 21-save shutout in his long-awaited NHL debut back in November to become the first netminder in franchise history to record a shutout in his first career start. In eight games with Hershey this season, Fucale is 4-2-2 with a .889 save percentage and 2.80 GAA. Last year, he ranked first in the AHL in GAA last season (1.80) and ranked second in save percentage (.932).
READ MORE ON WHN: Kuznetsov, TVR, Dowd Head Back To D.C. Per COVID-19 Regulations
Since it is currently a precautionary measure, Fucale likely won’t play in Winnipeg unless someone isn’t ready to go.
Washington has seen a number of players go on the COVID-19 protocol over the last few weeks. The Capitals will be without Nic Dowd, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Garnet Hathaway and Evgeny Kuznetsov in Winnipeg due to COVID-19. Dowd and TVR came off protocol and played Wednesday, but per Canada’s rules, they cannot play in Winnipeg on Friday.
Kuznetsov and Hathaway remain on protocol. Hathaway has been on protocol since Dec. 5, and Kuznetsov entered protocol on Wednesday before the tilt with Chicago. The team arranged for him to travel back to D.C. rather than quarantine in Chicago. It is unclear whether or not both players tested positive.
The Capitals elected to spend an extra day in Chicago for COVID-19 testing and practice before heading across the border to Canada, and are traveling to Winnipeg prior to puck drop. Washington will return home for a game against the Kings on Sunday.
Friday’s game is bound to be an interesting one overall. It marks the first time Washington is facing Winnipeg this season, and the first game the Jets are playing since Paul Maurice announced his surprising resignation just hours before puck drop. Assistant coach Dave Lowry is now Winnipeg’s interim head coach.