Beagle knocked the helmet off Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang along the boards and was going to be called for a roughing penalty when Asham challenged him to a fight seconds later. Asham connected with two punches in rapid succession and knocked Beagle to the ice.
"You saw what I saw. I think he was out for a bit," Boudreau said. "Jay got popped a pretty good one. He was playing a really good game, and challenged a pretty tough customer -- a guy that is used to fighting and Jay is not that used to fighting. He got tagged a good one."
It was Beagle's first career fight in an NHL regular-season game, and while a physical player on the team's fourth line, he has not been known as someone who drops the gloves a lot. That fact didn't sit well with some of the Capitals, who took exception to a veteran of many NHL fights like Asham seeking out Beagle.
Boudreau said he talked to the officials after the situation because he felt Asham deserved an instigator penalty.
"[Beagle] is not a fighter; it's not his job to fight," captain Alex Ovechkin said. "I don't know, it looked kind of not respectful for players on [a] different team. I don't know what people think, but I think it's not respectful."
Added Mike Knuble: "You hate to see your teammate go down, but Arron was just doing his job. I've played with Arron, he's an honest player, he's tremendous at what he does and he's doing what he had to do, and Jay did what he felt what he had to do. It's a little bit more experience against someone who doesn't have a lot and that's the result."
Asham's reaction immediately after the fight also drew the ire of the Capitals. He pantomimed a sleeping gesture with both hands together next to his face like a pillow. After the game, Asham apologized for his antics.
"I was into the game. It was uncalled for, classless on my part," Asham said.