Zach Fucale lives out his dream

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Zach Fucale has become a great argument in favor of sticking with something you love, even when times are difficult. Originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 2013, his journey to the NHL was a long one. He spent large stints of it in the ECHL and as recently as 2019-20, he was primarily an ECHL goaltender.

After being drafted, Montreal did sign him to a three-year entry level contract, but after that deal was done the Canadiens decided against making him a qualifying offer, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent. He signed a one-year deal with Vegas in 2018, but again he didn’t get a qualifying offer after that contract was done. Unable to get another two-way deal, he instead signed with AHL Syracuse in July 2019 until they released him in February 2020.

Things started to turn around for him when he signed a two-way deal with Washington in 2020 and then they singed him to a two-year extension in March 2021. He wasn’t part of the team’s plans for the NHL roster, but he was part of their depth and with Vitek Vanecek unavailable due to injury, Fucale got his first shot to play in the NHL last night at the age of 26. What followed was a storybook shutout victory to kick off his NHL career.

"I can't dream it better to be honest,” Fucale told the press. “This is a really great moment and that's a great win. It's been a helluva journey. But now one's out of the way, we move on and we go to the next game." He might find himself back in the AHL soon, but he’s shown he can play at this level and with that being accomplished, it wouldn’t be surprising if he gets another opportunity.

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EDMONTON 5 BOSTON 3

The Bruins were up 3-2 going into the third period, but the Oilers came back thanks in large part to Leon Draisaitl, who scored a pair of goals in the final frame. He also registered an assist earlier, giving him 12 goals and 26 points in 12 games.

Cody Ceci found the back of the net and registered an assist. He has a goal and three points in 12 contests.

David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins. He’s up to four goals and 10 points in 11 games.

Linus Ullmark stopped 23 of 28 Oilers shots. He has a 3-3-0 record, 3.01 GAA, and .903 save percentage in six starts.

At the other end of the ice, Mikko Koskinen saved 26 of 29 shots. He’s 8-1-0 with a 2.59 GAA and .918 save percentage in nine games.

MONTREAL 4 CALGARY 2

Jake Allen stopped 24 of 26 shots last night. He improved to 4-8-1 with a 2.86 GAA and .902 save percentage in 13 starts.

Nick Suzuki scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. He has four goals and 14 points in 15 games.

Brendan Gallagher also had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens. That gives him three goals and seven points in 14 contests.

One of Calgary’s two goals was scored by Mikael Backlund. It was his third goal and fifth point in 13 games.

Jacob Markstrom turned aside 24 of 27 Canadiens shots. He has a 5-3-3 record, 1.81 GAA, and .935 save percentage in 11 starts.

LOS ANGELES 2 OTTAWA 0

Jonathan Quick stopped 34 Senators shots to earn the shutout. It was his first perfect game of the season and the 55th of his career. He ranks 23rd on the all-time shutout list.

While Quick deserves credit for the shutout and the Kings earned the victory, the Senators also deserve some slack given that they have nine players in the COVID-19 protocol. Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot were both in the lineup for Ottawa though and each fired five shots on Quick.

Anze Kopitar scored the Kings’ first and therefore game-winning goal. He has eight goals and 16 points in 14 contests.

Andreas Athanasiou also found the back of the net for Los Angeles. It was his second goal and fifth point in four games.

Filip Gustavsson saved 34 of 36 shots on Thursday. He has a 2-3-1 record, 3.01 GAA, and .917 save percentage in six contests.

NEW JERSEY 4 NY ISLANDERS 0

Mackenzie Blackwood certainly had his work cut out for him to get this shutout. He had to stop 42 shots, but he did it to improve to 2-0-1 with a 2.00 GAA and .945 save percentage in three starts.

Zach Parise tied for the Islanders’ team-high with five shots on Blackwood. Nevertheless, Parise is still searching for his first goal of the season.

Ilya Sorokin stopped 30 of 34 shots last night. He has a 5-3-2 record, 2.18 GAA, and .933 save percentage in 10 starts.

Dougie Hamilton scored a goal and registered an assist for New Jersey. He’s up to three goals and eight points in nine games.

Janne Kuokkanen netted the game-winning goal. It was his third goal and fourth point in 12 contests.

PITTSBURGH 3 FLORIDA 2 (SO)

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 of 31 shots before regulation time. He allowed two goals on four shootout rounds though, which cost him the extra point.

Tristan Jarry saved 36 of 38 shots prior to the shootout. He got the win after limiting the Panthers to one goal in four shootout rounds.

Evan Rodrigues scored a goal for the Penguins. It was his fourth goal and eighth point in 12 games.

Teddy Blueger accounted for Pittsburgh’s other regulation time goal. He has three goals and four points in 12 contests.

This game would have been decided in regulation time had Aleksander Barkov not found the back of the net in the third period. He’s up to nine goals and 15 points in 13 games.

WASHINGTON 2 DETROIT 0

Zach Fucale had an NHL debut to remember. Drafted back in 2013 and now 26-years-old, he finally got his shot in the NHL and earned a 21-save shutout.

Adam Erne dished out three hits for the Red Wings. He’s up to 32 hits in 14 games.

Dmitry Orlov scored a goal at 12:43 in the first period and that ended up being the game winner. He has two goals and six points in 13 contests.

Lars Eller also found the back of the net for the Capitals. He has a goal and five points in 13 games.

Thomas Greiss stopped 27 of 29 shots on Thursday. He has a 4-4-0 with a 3.09 GAA and .909 save percentage in eight games.

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NASHVILLE 4 ST. LOUIS 3 (OT)

All of Nashville’s goals were assisted on by Mikael Granlund. He has two goals and 15 points in 14 contests.

Matt Duchene scored two goals, including the overtime winner, and registered an assist. He has eight goals and 14 points in 14 games.

David Rittich stopped 33 of 36 Blues shots. He spent time on the COVID protocol and finally made his season debut.

Jordan Kyrou netted a pair of goals for St. Louis. He has five goals and 14 points in 12 contests.

Jordan Binnington saved 23 of 27 shots last night. He has a 6-2-2 record, 2.58 GAA, and .922 save percentage in 10 starts.

WINNIPEG 4 SAN JOSE 1

Andrew Cogliano scored the Sharks’ lone goal. It was his second marker and fourth point in 12 games.

James Reimer stopped 30 of 33 Jets shots. He has a 3-2-1 record, 1.82 GAA, and .940 save percentage in seven contests.

Nate Schmidt scored the game-winning goal. It was his first marker and 10th point in 13 games.

Pierre-Luc Dubois found the back of the net and registered an assist. He’s up to eight goals and 13 points in 13 contests.

Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 26 of 27 shots on Thursday. He allowed the first goal of the game just 6:28 minutes into the contest, but he was perfect beyond that allowing the Jets to take over the contest.

COLORADO 7 VANCOUVER 1

Thatcher Demko got the start for Vancouver, but he surrendered six goals on 26 shots. Jaroslav Halak stepped in for the third period and saved eight of nine shots the rest of the way.

Mikko Rantanen scored a goal and registered two assists for the Avalanche. He’s up to four goals and eight points in eight games.

Devon Toews contributed a goal and an assist for Colorado. Those were his first two points in two games this season.

Vancouver’s goal was scored by Nils Hoglander. It was his second goal and fifth point in 14 contests.

Darcy Kuemper saved 21 of 22 Canucks shots. It was his second goal and fifth point in 14 games.

VEGAS 3 MINNESOTA 2

Jonathan Marchessault scored the game-winning goal. It was his seventh goal and 11th point in 14 games.

Jonas Rondbjerg netted a goal and registered an assist for Vegas. He has a goal and three points in seven contests.

Minnesota’s Jared Spurgeon found the back of the net. He’s up to three goals and eight points in 13 games.

Cam Talbot stopped 32 of 35 Golden Knight shots. He allowed two goals on a staggering 16 shots in the first period. Vegas’ lead grew to 3-0 through 40 minutes and while Talbot was strong in the third, allowing the Wild to close the gap, it ultimately wasn’t enough to change the outcome of the game.

At the other end of the ice, Laurent Brossoit saved 24 of 26 shots. He has a 2-1-0 record, 3.05 GAA, and .903 save percentage in four contests.

ANAHEIM 7 SEATTLE 4

Jared McCann scored a pair of goals for the Kraken. He has five goals and nine points in nine contests.

Troy Terry netted two goals and registered an assist. The Anaheim forward has nine goals and 16 points in 13 games.

Hampus Lindholm accounted for the game-winning goal. It was his first goals and fifth point in 15 games.

John Gibson stopped 21 of 25 Kraken shots. The Ducks took the 1-0 lead at 4:42 of the first period and the Anaheim never gave up that lead.

At the other end of the ice, Philipp Grubauer saved 29 of 34 shots. He dropped to 4-6-1 with a 3.17 GAA and .881 save percentage in 11 games.