In early July, NHL Network’s Top Shelf dedicated an entire show counting down the oddest plays of the 2015-16 season. Basically, it turned out to be a season review of the Washington Capitals.
Jay Beagle’s miracle diving stick save was named the oddest play of the year.
Let’s review the Caps plays that made the cut.
Overshadowed by Nick Bonino’s series ending goal in overtime of Game Six, was Jay “The Regal” Beagle’s diving stop at the goal line a few minutes earlier. Let me set the scene. 2:30 into overtime, the Penguins were making a frantic push. After a carry-in by Sidney Crosby, the Kid finds Trevor Daley with a beautiful cross-ice pass. Holtby stands tall making saves on both shots, but loses his stick in the process. Wuh oh.
The puck pin balls around a bit until Patric Hornqvist comes away with possession behind the net. As Honqvist curls towards the crease, he sends a backhanded pass to defenseman Trevor Daley. Daley shoots, but a sliding-out-of-position Holtby manages to make the pad save with his left leg. Hornqvist, though, is crashing the net and finds the rebound on his backhand. Holtby, completely out of the play, can only watch in despair as Hornqvist flips the puck towards the yawning net. Penguins fans stand in anticipation…
And then Jay Beagle comes out of nowhere to make the save!
Upon replay, you can see that Beagle dove and knocked Hornqvist’s shot out of mid air with the shaft of his stick. It’s incredible. In a moment where Beagle either had to be superhuman and perfect or lose, Beagle saved his team (for like four extra minutes).
During Game One of that same Penguins series, Beagle became a stick magnet. First, Kris Letang’s stick got stuck in Beags’ shield.
Later Phil Kessel’s blade got stuck in Beagle’s skate.
“Typically you don’t want to be a stick magnet, you’d rather have the puck coming to you,” Beagle said to our own Chris Gordon after the game. “It was weird. I’ve never had that happen before. I don’t know if it’s ever happened before.”
In November, Dmitry Orlov scored a goal that would have even impressed The Great Houdini. As Orlov takes a shot on net, the puck mysteriously bounces into the air. Everyone assumes the puck went out of play. Instead, it landed right on Orlov’s stick. Boom. Goal.
“I get it and I look around and like everybody can’t see so I’m like okay I get a chance,” Orlov added. “I was scared if referee would make a whistle. I can see like empty net so I wait, wait, wait and start moving to middle. It’s kind of a funny situation and hard to explain. It just happen. Our guys can’t see the puck.”
Orlov laughed while celebrating.
The Caps/Flyers first-round series was a laugh riot. Exhibit A is Steve Mason’s incredibly bad goaltending on this Jason Chimera… should I call it a dump in?
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