Jay Beagle's first goal of the 2016-17 season was a huge one.
Beagle won an offensive zone draw in the final minute of a 2-2 game on Tuesday night in Winnipeg, and five seconds later he backhanded a shot past Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck to give the Caps a 3-2 victory, their third in a row.
Washington carried a 2-0 lead into the third period of Tuesday's game, but the Jets surged back to tie the game with a pair of late tallies against a Caps team that's usually stingy in the final frame, especially when protecting the lead.
When speaking with the media in the aftermath of his key goals and plays, the humble Beagle typically deflects any credit by claiming his eyes were closed during the event in question. But not after Tuesday's game.
"Eyes were open," says Beagle.
After beating Winnipeg's Adam Lowry on the draw, Beagle went to toward the net. He found the puck when John Carlson's shot from the point fell in the slot. Beagle corralled the puck, beat Lowry and then Hellebuyck to enable the Caps to come home with a 3-1 record on their four-game journey through western Canada.
"Obviously we don't want to give up two goals in the third," says Beagle. "We want to lock it down. They pushed hard, played well in the third and it was just a matter of sticking to our game plan. It was still a tie game.
"We let off a little bit offensively on them, and we were kind of sitting back when we had the two-goal lead and it ended up costing us. So we wanted to go after them. We talked about it on the bench."
Beagle's goal was the 32nd of his NHL career, and it was his seventh career game-winner.