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Capitals breakdown: Jay Beagle

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Capitals breakdown: Jay Beagle

CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley willevaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. Onebreakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Jay BeagleJay BeaglePosition: CenterAge: 26HtWt: 6-3, 215Games: 41Goals: 4Assists: 1Points: 5Penalty minutes: 23Plus-Minus: Minus-2Average Ice Time: 11:51Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent 512,500 cap hit in2011-12
Strengths: In his first full season in the NHL Beagle wasprobably the most pleasant surprise for the Capitals, shaking off the effectsof a concussion to become the Capitals full-time checking-line center.Beagles ice time jumped to 18:25 during the playoffs, sixth among Capitalsforwards. He blocked 13 shots, including one that broke his foot and ended hisseason in Game 5 against the Rangers. He also was on the first penalty-killingunit, won 54 percent of his faceoffs and has a work ethic that is second tonone.Weaknesses: If Beagle can develop a scoring touch around thenet his career could follow a similar path as Brooks Laich, another blue collarcenter who turned himself into a well-rounded all-situations forward. Beaglehas the size and strength to go to the net and after recovering from footsurgery would benefit from deflecting hundreds of pucks into empty nets. Memorable Moment on the ice: Unfortunately for Beagle, theimage that sticks is the Oct. 13 knockout at the hands of Pittsburghs Arron Asham. Beagle got taggedby two hard rights from Asham, who angered the Capitals with knocked out and goto sleep gestures on his way to the penalty box. Beagle tried to practice thenext day but was diagnosed with a concussion and missed the next 31 games. Ifit was up to me, Beagle said, Id play through anything anytime.Memorable Moment off the ice: After a shot by Rangersdefenseman Anton Stralman broke his foot in the second period of Game 5, Beagleplayed the remainder of the game. I wasnt going to leave my team a man shortin the game, Beagle said. You gut through it and know that the pain will beover soon. The next day he underwent surgery to repair the fracture and thefollowing night he tried playing in Game 6, getting carted from the entrance ofthe Verizon Center to the dressing room, where he puthis broken foot into a skate for warmups but could not support his weight. Imnot sure what he took to get his foot in the boot,teammate Troy Brouwersaid. He tried walking and it just wouldnt support him.2012-13 Expectations: If Beagles playoff performance wasany indication he could emerge as a valuable shut-down center for the Capitals.And if he works on his scoring touch hes capable of producing between 10 and15 goals and 25-30 points.

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With Burakovsky out, is Chandler Stephenson the next man up?

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USA TODAY Sports

With Burakovsky out, is Chandler Stephenson the next man up?

With Andre Burakovsky out for the remainder of the first round at least, someone will have to replace him in the top six. Originally, it looked like Jakub Vrana was the man for the job. Based on Game 4, however, it now looks like Chandler Stephenson is the "next man up" for the Caps.

While Vrana may have top-six skill and a high ceiling, it was Stephenson who stepped into the second-line role on Thursday playing alongside Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. Stephenson finished with two shots on goal in 17:28 of ice time. Vrana, meanwhile, played for only 6:40.

On Friday, Barry Trotz praised Stephenson's hockey IQ for allowing him to adjust to the top-six in a complementary role.

"[Stephenson's] an intelligent player," Trotz said. "He played with [Backstrom] a lot [Thursday]. If you talk with the real top-end guys, he has the ability to think like a top-end guy in terms of play with them. He’s a very intelligent player. He skates extremely well. He’s got some strength to his game. He can complement people. I think his ability to play those different roles and his hockey IQ when you play with those skill guys, he plays more of a give-and-go game than an individual game. When you play with those high skill guys, you’re able to compliment them very well."

Stephenson has spent the majority of the season on the fourth line. He was drafted as a natural center, but has played primarily wing since coming to the NHL. The ability to play both positions gives Stephenson more versatility than most forwards which Trotz credits for helping him see the game so well.

"The great thing about Chandler is he’s played multiple positions over the years. I think it’s allowed him to play a fourth-line role and with high-skill guys. At center-ice, you distribute the puck a little more.  He’s turning into a well-rounded player for us."

On the surface, having Stephenson on the fourth line over Vrana makes little sense. Vrana is highly skilled and has great speed, but he is also prone to giving up turnovers and his production can be inconsistent. Trotz has clearly put a premium on responsible play this postseason which gives Stephenson the edge.

But Game 4 was only one game. If you are going to get top-six minutes, Stephenson will be expected to produce offensively as well. Despite the limited ice time he has gotten, Vrana has shown he can have a major impact on games. In Game 1, he set up the team's only 5-on-5 goal and drew a penalty. In Game 3, he drew two penalties in less than two minutes, giving Washington a two-man advantage.

Stephenson had a fantastic game in Game 4 when he was given the chance to play in the top-six. The next step will be finding a way to have a bigger impact on the game.

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Game 5 Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 5 Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Alex Ovechkin said the Caps would return to Washington with a tied series. The Caps captain is a man of his word as the Caps won both Game 3 and Game 4 to even up the series at two games apiece.

John Tortorella had no answers after seeing his Columbus Blue Jackets fall in Game 4, but he will have to figure things out quickly as the series shifts back to Washington for a pivotal Game 5.

The Caps return home with two straight wins and all the momentum. There's just one problem: No one seemingly can win at home.

What: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Round 1, Game 5

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 3:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 will be broadcast on NBC.

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 on NBC Sports' live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

The Capitals take on the Blue Jackets in Game 5 on Saturday, April 21 at 3:00 p.m. ET in Washington. The series is tied 2-2.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME ON?

Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 will be broadcast on NBC. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 2:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 2:30 p.m. Tune back to NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 6:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

2:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
2:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
3:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Blue Jackets on NBC
5:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
6:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 5 is available to stream live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

Here are the Caps' projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly- Lars Eller - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jakub Vrana -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Scratches: Travis Boyd, Andre Burakovsky (upper-body), Shane Gerisch, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

SEE THE CAPITALS VS. BLUE JACKETS FULL SERIES SCHEDULE HERE

CAPITALS SCHEDULE