In the second period of Saturday’s tilt with the Minnesota Wild, the Washington Capitals were up 2-0 and had the chance to go up by three as they got a delayed penalty call. WIth six attackers on, Zach Fucale on the bench and the Capitals in control, they saw one of the strangest, rarest circumstances take place — and it cost them.
While trying to generate pressure and chances on the delayed call, Washington tried to set up a scoring chance. Marcus Foligno did touch the puck, but since Minnesota didn’t have control, the whistle didn’t blow. Carl Hagelin then chased after the loose puck, settled in the corner and made a missed pass to the point.
The puck then made its way all the way down the ice, and into the Capitals empty net to pull the Wild within one. Foligno was ultimately credited with the goal.
Ahh, yes. The totally normal NHL empty net own goal. pic.twitter.com/DgZGXdmnZC
— Wesley Brown (@W_Brown21) January 9, 2022
Head coach Peter Laviolette commented on the play, saying it was something that the team “didn’t need to happen.”
“There wasn’t much in the game but the last two periods I thought were really tight. We were working hard in the offensive zone, drawing some penalties, good things were happening,” Laviolette explained postgame. “So when that happens, that’s definitely a fluke. Something we didn’t need to happen at that point when we’re up 2-0.”
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Laviolette also added that he had been part of a play like that before — ironically, against the Capitals back in 2006, when Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Niclas Wallin scored on his own net on a delayed call.
“It was a beauty,” Laviolette joked.
Carolina went on to win the Stanley Cup that year.’
The own goal spoiled a shutout bid for Zach Fucale, even though he wasn’t on the ice for the goal. Still, he broke the NHL’s all-time record for the longest no-goal streak to open a career, surrounding zero goals through the first 119:25 minutes. Matt Hackett formerly held that record, setting it back in 2011 with Minnesota.
Connor McMichael added that it was an “unlucky” goal.
On the other side of the play, the Wild’s players saw a different perspective.
“It was a hell of a snipe,” Foligno joked postgame. The ENG marked the 100th goal of his career.
“I’ve seen close ones, but today it went in,” Kevin Fiala added. “It went in. It was a lucky one for us to get back in the game… we appreciate that goal for sure.”
Ultimately, it’s a memory that Hagelin and Washington hope to move on quickly from. The team returns home to host the Boston Bruins on Monday and snap a three-game skid. And hopefully, when the dust settles, the Capitals can look back and laugh at this one day.