Jay Beagle wears a lot of hats for the Capitals, such as No. 1 penalty killing forward and face-off specialist.
On Saturday night, he added ‘overtime hero’ to his list of roles.
Beagle scored the game-winner 19 seconds into extra session to lift the Capitals to a 4-3 victory in Dallas—their first win over the Stars since 2008.
As big as the goal was for the Caps, it was just as significant for Beagle.
His 10th goal of the season, it matched the career-high he established in 2014-15. The fourth line center now has 36 games left to set a new personal best. (He’s already equaled his career high for assists with 10).
“Obviously, it’s something I’ve been trying to do,” Beagle told reporters when asked about the improvements he’s made to his game each year. “But I’m playing with great players. Something like [the winner] where [Evgeny Kuznetsov] gives me a pass like that. And [Daniel] Winnik and [Tom] Wilson; I’ve been with them almost all year. We have great chemistry and the line’s rolling. It’s unreal playing with them. I can just jump on board.”
Beagle's goal at American Airlines Center was arguably his biggest of the year as it helped the Caps complete their comeback from a 3-1 deficit against a team they rarely beat.
It was also interesting that he even got the chance to score it.
Beagle helped the Caps beat Toronto in overtime earlier this month by winning the all-important opening faceoff and then heading to the bench to change for Alex Ovechkin. This time, however, Coach Barry Trotz instructed Beagle to stay on the ice.
“He kept us in the game early” with his penalty killing, Trotz explained. “He won a lot of big draws. I felt like he deserved that opportunity.”
The result was a dramatic game winner.
“I haven’t played much 3 on 3, but Coach told me go out there and stay out there,” Beagle said. “Kuzy called it right off the hop—he said we’re scoring. He made an unbelievable play, put it right on my tape in front. With his speed you just have to go to the dirty area and he’ll get you the puck.”
Indeed, Beagle made a bee line for the net, where he stopped and snapped Kuznetsov's slick pass from behind the net past Stars netminder Kari Lehtonen.
Of Beagle’s 10 goals this season, seven have come against Central Division opponents (four vs. the Blackhawks and one apiece vs. Jets, Blues and Stars).
“I can’t, no,” Beagle cracked, asked if he could explain why he’s so successful against the Central. “I didn’t know that stat.”
Beagle, however, didn’t have any trouble explaining the Caps’ comeback in Big D.
“Our power play got some chances and got two big goals,” he said, referring to Washington’s second and third tallies, both scored on the man advantage early in the third period. “It was never in doubt. We’re playing good right now. We’re playing confident. We came in here in the second intermission and said, ‘We’re taking this game over and we’re going to win.’”
The Caps are now 11-0-2 in their last 13 games and 31-1-5 all-time when Beagle scores a goal.
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