Despite Saturday’s loss to Minnesota, Washington Capitals rookie goaltender Zach Fucarle slipped off the ice with an NHL record on his resume.
In his third game, Fucarle broke the record for the longest suspension of an NHL career opening. Fucale went without a goal in his first 138:07, breaking the record set in 2011 by Minnesota’s Matt Hackett (102:48).
Afterwards, Fukale told reporters that he didn’t know he broke the record until the end of the game.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “I don’t know. It’s crazy.”
Fukale, 26, has spent most of the season with Hershey’s Washington minor league team, with Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanechek the Capitals’ top two goalies. His first start came against Detroit on Nov. 11, and he became the team’s first goalie to be suspended on his debut. After spending the next two months at Hershey, Fucarle was recalled ahead of the team’s back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday. He then played about 19 minutes without a goal on Friday against St. Louis and got a start on Saturday.
Washington (20-7-9) led 2-0 in the second quarter and Minnesota’s first score on Saturday was an own goal without charges against Fucale. On a delayed penalty, Washington’s Karl Hagreen flicked a false pass and slid into the Capitals’ goal.
Rare own goal in delayed penalty 😬 pic.twitter.com/HD57n4h2M3
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) January 9, 2022
Wild forward Mats Zucarello scored the tie with 35 seconds left in the third quarter — Fucarle’s first career goal.
“It was a good and quality night, but I was pissed off about that goal,” Fukale said. “It was a tough goal. Just another experience I had to learn.”
He bounced back quickly, though, making a fine save early in overtime.
Zach Fucale you are not human pic.twitter.com/qNJBxArbzp
— NBC Sports Capital (@NBCSCapitals) January 9, 2022
After a scoreless overtime, the Wilds then won the shootout.