Jay Beagle knows what it’s like to be up against a seasoned NHL scrapper in your first big-league fight.
On Friday, however, Beagle was merely an observer to teammate and good friend Karl Alzner’s first NHL bout against Steve Downie of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“Anytime there’s a fight happening, you never know what’s gonna happen, so you’re obviously hoping for the best, hoping that the guy does good,” Beagle said. “He did well. I was happy for him.”
Alzner himself was fairly calm about the ordeal afterwards talking to the press. He explained the jawing at Downie afterwards in the box by Downie taking a final punch when Alzner was on the way down (perilously close to breaking one of Matt Bradley’s rules of gentlemanly fighting: never hit a guy when he’s down).
It earned him a nod from coaches Dale Hunter and Jim Johnson as well.
“Him and Jimmy both came down and said ‘good job,’” Alzner said. “I think they appreciate when anyone does something like that for the team.”
Despite Alzner’s effort, however, it was Tampa who made waves after the Downie-Alzner fight, putting up a goal to make it only 3-1 in the Capitals’ favor. The Capitals had scored two of their goals early after Tampa got three penalties back-to-back-to-back at the start of the game.
The late push by Tampa that continued into the third closed the scoreboard gap even more. Tampa scored twice, including once within the final minute of the game.
Fortunately for the Capitals, forward Troy Brouwer had his first multiple goal game of the season. He upped it to a hat trick late in the third and still managed to lead the Capitals in hits, with seven.
The shoving and hat trick in the third managed to mask what was otherwise a somewhat disappointing third period for the Capitals, who saw their lead get shortened to one with 11 seconds left and were outshot 7 to 15. The end result was a mixed bag—the Capitals got the needed win, their power play went 2 for 4, their penalty kill was 4 for 5, but they allowed Tampa to stay in the game until the final seconds.
Check out additional analysis with Ted Starkey on the game in the video below.