It was “bittersweet” for Jay Beagle to score his first goal of the season Tuesday night in the Washington Capitals’ overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Finally after a bunch of hard-working games and plenty of chances, he cashed in.
He almost had a second, but the puck crossed the goal line just after time expired in the second period.
All in all, a good performance for Beagle, who showed why coach Dale Hunter promoted him to third-line center. The 26-year-old took some joy in helping to contain Eric Staal along with linemates Matt Hendricks and Troy Brouwer.
“It’s very satisfying obviously even just to play against them and to kind of be matched against them. With Hendy and Brouwer, we were talking that if we shut him down then we’re going to have a chance to win and that’s what we tried to do, we tried to shut them down,” Beagle said. “We would’ve liked to play more in their zone and it felt like we were maybe chasing for the first bit, but we got the job done.”
Beagle isn’t counted on for a whole lot of offense, but he was tasked with watching Staal, an important job of getting under the Carolina captain’s skin.
“Beags is a tenacious player and Staal’s a special player and he battled with him – clean hockey, no penalties. Just skated with with him. He’s a great skater, so he can skate with him,” Hunter said. “And he’s a hard worker. Everybody knows that. It’s hard for skilled players like that to deal with it. He gets rewarded by getting some great scoring chances. It was one of those games that I hope he can build off it.”
But Beagle also admitted he tried to do too much in the third period against the Hurricanes and found himself making mistakes.
“It’s in our nature. We want to work and get the job done, so you kind of have to, not step back, but you have to focus on what your job is and your role and my role is not to try to make plays at the blue line,” he said. “I have to get it deep and grind it out and go to work down there and that’s how I’m going to be successful. So I have to stick to my game plan.”