Charlie Lindgren’s heater continued on Tuesday, stonewalling the reigning Stanley Cup Champions on the way to a 3-0 victory. Though the Golden Knights outplayed the Capitals for much of the matchup, Lindgren’s 35-save night netted both a third straight win for the Caps and his first shutout since joining the team.
Lindgren has allowed only three total goals in November, stopping 93 of his last 96 shots faced and emerging on top in all three of his starts. Still, Tuesday’s showing stood out as one of his best. When asked how important Lindgren was to the victory, head coach Spencer Carbery named him the most important factor of the night.
“He was the win,” Carbery said. “Just fantastic all night. Go down the list of the breakaways, all the different saves in tight, some screening tips and rebound stuff, he had it all. Pass outs off their forecheck, they go right to F3, must have saw 3 or 4 of those. All sorts of different stops. The difference in the game.”
In the words of the birthday boy @JoeBpXp, Chuckie was “simply sensational” tonight.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 15, 2023
With Darcy Kuemper missing his third straight start, Lindgren took the net for the second time in a week. He told reporters postgame that he knew he was up to the task from the get-go.
“Tonight, just right from the puck drop, felt in the zone,” Lindgren said. “I think I’ve got some really good momentum going right now. Feel good in practice, feeling good in games. I thought our guys again tonight did a lot of selling out, blocking shots. Coming up big in big moments. So big, big, big two points tonight.”
In four total starts this season, Lindgren has looked solid, allowing an average of 1.76 goals against to record a .947 save percentage — earning Carbery’s attention even before the game against Vegas.
Lindgren’s teammates were similarly impressed by his game Tuesday night, which would earn him first star of the game honors.
“That was one of the more amazing performances I’ve ever seen live,” Beck Malenstyn told Monumental Sports Network’s Al Koken after the game. “Chuck had a great night. We relied on him and were able to capitalize on our chances.”
Malenstyn later added, “They had a handful of breakaways tonight and he was able to shut the door on all of them. You see a guy walk in like that making those types of saves, you’re more eager to play in front of him.”
“(There were) like four breakaways I want to say today, maybe three or four at least,” said Dylan Strome. “Just unbelievable saves, coming up huge. Looks confident in the net, making good saves, good reads. You could see in practice: he’s hard to score on and it translates well to the games. He’s playing really well.”
Fans got in on the praise as well, with ‘Charlie’ chants ringing out through Capital One Arena.
“I’ve been here for a year and a half now and I can’t say enough good things about the city, the fans, the people here,” Lindgren said of the in-arena response. “Just absolutely love it here. So to hear them chant my name, that was pretty cool.”
Despite Lindgren’s impressive showing, the game went down to the wire. The Caps teetered precariously on a 1-0 lead for much of the night before goals from Connor McMichael and Beck Malenstyn put the game away in the final minute. For the team’s skaters, playing in front of a goaltender on a heater inspired them to rise to the occasion.
“I think it’s the least we could do for Chucky tonight,” McMichael said of his goal. “He was unbelievable again. When your goalie plays like that, it’s the least you could do is put out a good effort. I don’t think it was our greatest game, but it was a good character win coming out against one of the best teams in the league. And we’re really happy with it.”
Lindgren reciprocated the sentiment, egged on by his teammates battling in front of him.
“When I see my guys doing that, when I see them selling out, giving it their all, I better be doing the same,” he said. “Because it’s motivating, it’s inspiring. It’s why team sports are so fun, because you’ve got guys to the left and right of you that you’re going to battle with.”
For a team that often saw strong games go unrewarded early in the season, grabbing a win from a stronger opponent felt especially sweet. John Carlson admitted that Vegas had the upper hand at points and emphasized the value of Lindgren’s stops in turning the tide.
“I don’t think we played perfect, but Chucky stood on his head time after time when we needed him to,” he said, later adding, “The momentum is so big and I think we got outplayed for chunks of that game. That’s huge, to come out of a lull and have a big save or five through a flurry. To be able to have that confidence is huge and there’s not much else to say. It’s an incredible performance.”
The Capitals have three days off before they face the Columbus Blue Jackets. After Lindgren’s showing against Vegas, he could well remain the starter Saturday night.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 15, 2023
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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