Photo: Alex Brandon
With 42 seconds left in the Capitals’ 4-0 win over Chicago, Jay Beagle skated to the bench looking for a change. He had been on the ice for three shifts in the last four minutes. His teammates, however, were adamant that he stay on the ice. But finally, after Beagle crawled over the bench wall, Eric Fehr stepped on for the final shift.
“I felt bad for him because I knew how tired he was,” Fehr told me. “I could see it in his eyes. He doesn’t get that look very often. He was begging to come off. I took a second and evaluated it and figured I better go.”
Said Beagle of his reaction: “I said “’I’m not! I’m not staying on. I can’t even move my legs anymore!”
Other than Beagle, neither the Capitals or the Blackhawks put forth any real effort during Friday’s game.
Chicago will play San Jose no matter what happens over the last weekend, with only home ice to decide. The Caps just want to put a little lipstick on their pig. Because of that, the game was free-flowing and moderately entertaining. In 60 minutes, there were just 21 hits.
Since the Caps are out of it, random stuff might as well happen. Beagle, of flip phone and first line center fame, registered his first two goal outing in 190 career games. His lifetime goal total increased 15 percent, from 11 to 13. Beagle’s season total doubled from two to four. He now has a career-high nine points this season. It was Beagle’s first multi-goal game since the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs, when he was a member of the Hershey Bears. He was named the first star of the game and even did the post-game interview with Al Koken.
1st Star Baby!!! pic.twitter.com/DXd71b8ukz
— S (@slw357) April 12, 2014
When a member of the Capitals PR staff announced that Beagle would be speaking from the center of the room, the 28-year-old Canadian laughed: “I’ve never heard that before!”
“The guys were looking for me all night,” Beagle, who received a standing ovation from his teammates after the game, said. “Trying for the third one, they were hitting me no matter where I was. It was a fun game to be a part of.”
“I was pretty excited,” he added. “I think I said right away to Wardo ‘That’s my first two goal game!” and they were like ‘What?!’ They went looking for the puck right away. It kinda hit me right away when it went in through the five hole there that pucks were bouncing my way.”
Beagle’s first goal came midway through the first period, when he whacked in a deflected pass from Dmitry Orlov.
His next goal came with less than four minutes left in the middle frame after some cycling down low. Jason Chimera then fed the puck to Beagle, who was wide open in the slot. He fired off an Ovi-esqe one-footed wrister for goal number two.
Finally, Beagle was sprung for a semi-breakaway by Evgeny Kuznetsov with 2:44 left in the game. Attempting to get the hat trick, Beags tried to flip the puck over Blackhawks goalie Antti Raanta. It didn’t work. Beagle finished the game with nearly 17 minutes of ice time and three shots on goal. When he finished talking to Gemma Hooley of Media Chameleon and I, Beagle immediately bolted for his locker.
“My calves are killing me right now!” he said.