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Capitals Throw Wild Celebration For Fucale’s First NHL Win, Shutout: ‘It’s Been A Helluva Journey’



Capitals goalie Zach Fucale

The Washington Capitals escaped Little Caesar’s Arena with a 2-0 victory on Thursday, and a lot of credit was due to Zach Fucale’s play. In turn, the Capitals thanked their starter in a big way.

Zach Fucale not only got his first NHL win and shutout, but he also made history as the first goaltender in franchise history to record a shutout in his debut. He made 21 stops to shut down Detroit’s top scorers, and the resulting celebration was priceless.

Following his postgame interview and first-star ranking, Fucale made his way back to the Capitals locker room, where Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Samsonov were waiting. The three started cheering wildly for the 26-year-old as he entered, spraying water on him and erupting in applause. The whole locker room followed, with John Carlson, Garnet Hathaway, Daniel Sprong and everyone getting in on the antics.

Fucale’s NHL debut has been a long time coming. He was taken by Montreal in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft and played with 13 different clubs in four different leagues: the QMJHL, ECHL, DEL and AHL before finally getting a start at the NHL level. The Capitals recalled Fucale from Hershey on Wednesday after Vitek Vanecek was banged up following Monday’s 5-3 win over Buffalo.

Not only did he get a wild celebration, but Trevor van Riemsdyk also awarded him with the shield postgame. Washington is giving out Vikings-themed awards after their wins to their best offensive player (axe) and defensive players (shield).

The moment was even more special for Fucale, whose parents were also in attendance for his first NHL start. He told them that he was starting before getting on the plane to Detroit, and both mom and dad, along with family friends, made it to Michigan in time. He also got a puck to celebrate the achievement.

“I can’t dream it better to be honest. This is a really great moment and at the end of the day, it’s a great win,” Fucale told reporters postgame. “It’s been a helluva journey. But now one’s out the way, we move on and we go to the next game. It’s a great moment, it really is. It’s a fun night, a real fun night.”

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