Beagle’s 50th helps Capitals to 4-2 win over Blue Jackets
WASHINGTON (AP) — For Washington star Alex Ovechkin, 50 goals is an annual target.
For Jay Beagle, it’s a career benchmark worth celebrating.
The fourth-line center put Washington ahead to stay with his landmark goal Friday night, and the Capitals continued their dominance against the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 4-2 victory.
“I’ve never been a stats guy, but the guys made a big deal about it,” Beagle said. “They were chirping me about it. I can’t repeat it.”
Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller each had a goal and an assist as Washington swept a home-and-home with Columbus and won its sixth straight against the Blue Jackets dating to last season. John Carlson also scored and Braden Holtby made 35 saves.
The Metropolitan Division leaders won for the fourth time in six games despite being outshot 37-17 by the visitors.
“They pushed really hard at the end of the second, came after us, and we almost had to hold on,” Beagle said.
Pierre Luc-Dubois and Artemi Panarin scored for the Blue Jackets, who have lost five straight. Columbus’ struggles on the penalty kill continued with Eller’s power-play goal, marking a seventh straight game allowing at least one.
“There’s no sense in getting frustrated,” Blue Jackets coach John Torotorella said. “We’ve just got to work through it and just get ready for our next game.”
Columbus quickly answered each of Washington’s first two goals, but the Capitals grabbed control over a 90-second stretch of the second period.
Beagle got it started with the sixth goal of his 10th NHL season. He shoveled in the rebound of Chandler Stephenson’s shot off Sergei Bobrovsky’s pads to put Washington up 3-2 with 15:22 left in the period.
Then Eller snuck a slap shot inside Bobrovsky’s near post as Washington caught Columbus taking a chance on a short-handed break.
“Every time the other team has three guys up the ice on the penalty kill, if they miss, then you know you’re going to have an odd-man rush the other way,” Eller said. “So I was just being patient.”
Washington went without a shot for the rest of the period, but escaped with its 4-2 lead intact, thanks partly to defenseman Matt Niskanen’s goal-line block on a penalty kill in the final minute before intermission.
“I didn’t even know he got it or anything,” Holtby said. “I was scrambling.”
NOTES: Columbus D Zach Werenski staggered off the ice late in the second after he appeared to get kicked accidentally in the thigh or groin by Washington’s T.J. Oshie. Werenski returned in the third. ... Capitals LW Andre Burakovsky was a healthy scratch. He has a cumulative plus-minus rating of minus-4 over the last five games. ... The United Arab Emirates women’s national hockey team was honored on the ice prior to the opening faceoff. ... Washington acquired RW Adam Chapie and LW Joe Whitney from the New York Rangers in exchange for C John Albert and D Hubert Labrie. Chapie and Whitney will report to Hershey of the AHL.
Blue Jackets: Host New Jersey on Saturday.
Capitals: Host Detroit on Sunday.