WASHINGTON -- Washington Capitals forward Jay Beagle lives for this kind of stuff. His line was faced with the difficult task of shutting down Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin in Game 1 of the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round at Verizon Center on Thursday.
"It's great," Beagle said. "All year, we work for that, to shut down the top lines, and to get that task in the playoffs is huge. We're not going to take it for granted. We love it."
Washington won 4-3 in overtime when T.J. Oshie completed his hat trick to end a fast-paced, back-and-forth game.
"That's what you like," Beagle said. "That's what we expect. That was a fun game out there. Some guys stepped up big. It was a huge win."
Video: PIT@WSH, Gm1: Oshie tallies hat trick, gets OT winner
The fourth line of Daniel Winnik, Beagle and Tom Wilson was effective at limiting odd-man rushes, turnovers and getting the puck behind the net. Malkin did score in the second period, but it was after Beagle's line had gone off for a change.
"You definitely don't want to have turnovers," Beagle said. "They're a quick team and obviously fast in transition. They'll look a lot faster, too, if you're not getting the puck behind them. When they're in transition, it feels like they're coming at you in waves. We've got to make sure we get it behind their D and go to work behind their net."
Beagle won 75 percent of his faceoffs against Malkin, including all five in the Capitals zone, and 43 percent against Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.
"The key thing is faceoffs, especially," Washington goalie Braden Holtby said. "If you can start with the puck against those guys, it's always a plus. Tall guys, long sticks, good sticks and tough to play against."
Beagle's night took a strange turn when Penguins defenseman Kris Letang's stick became wedged between his visor and helmet late in the second period. It was removed safely, and Beagle was uninjured.
"I definitely knew there was a stick in my visor," Beagle said. "I just couldn't believe that it was stuck. I tried to pull it a couple times just so I could continue with the play, but it wouldn't come out. Then I figured I might as well get to the bench, I'm useless right now; I can't see a thing."
In the third period, Beagle drew a tripping penalty against Pittsburgh forward Phil Kessel, whose stick became lodged between Beagle's skate blade and boot when the two of them got tangled up.