The headline for the Caps’ preseason shootout win Friday against the Buffalo Sabres rightfully belonged to Nicklas Backstrom, who found the net for the first time in an NHL game since March 22 (h/t to David Nichols for the stat) and ended up with two goals. But a game like Friday’s is also the perfect case study of how much a third/fourth line grinder like Jay Beagle has to offer this team.
Beagle, playing on the fourth line with Matt Hendricks and Jeff Halpern, didn’t score a goal. But by the end of regulation, Beagle had a little bit of everything else: he got shots on goal (4), he gave out hits (4), he blocked shots (3), and he got an assist on a Hendricks goal that tied the game at 3 in the third period. Beagle even won the two faceoffs he took.
Going into yesterday’s game, Beagle had played four of five preseason games and had a plus-2 rating. Friday, he was never on the ice for any of the Sabres’ three goals against the Capitals.
Beagle said he particularly focused on hits...