(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Jay Beagle was a little surprised when the centering pass from Jason Chimera behind the net– hard, crisp and perfectly placed – found him out in front. But the moment he released a one-timer, the hard-working center knew the shot would hold significance.

That shot, which went between Chicago netminder Corey Crawford’s legs to make it 4-0 with 16:16 gone in the second period Friday night, gave Beagle the first two-goal game of his career. Friday night was his 191st NHL regular season game.

“I was pretty excited,” Beagle said. “I think I said right away to Wardo [Joel Ward] ‘That’s my first two-goal game,’ and they went looking for the puck right away.”

Chimera retrieved the puck for Beagle, 28, whose breakout offensive night gave the Capitals something positive to take out of a game that otherwise holds no true meaning as the team works toward the end of the season.

But if there’s anyone on the roster whose success will be unanimously celebrated it’s Beagle, who is well-respected around the dressing room for his tireless work ethic.

“We were fired up. I wish there was a mic on the bench,” Karl Alzner said. “If you go around the room, he’s probably one of the guys people rally around the most. We get the most fired up when he does well. It was awesome. I’m really happy for him. Everyone else is too.”

After Beagle recorded the second goal – heading into Friday’s game he had recorded a total of 11 goals in his NHL career – his teammates were clearly doing everything in their power to help him score a third. Beagle had a handful of quality chances down the stretch.

Late in the third, he was so tired after a long shift that he had to come off for a line change, but his teammates wanted him to stay out and keep aiming for a hat trick.

“I was gassed. I needed to come off, and they were all yelling ‘Stay on,’” Beagle said. “I don’t think Fehrsie [Eric Fehr] was even going to come on and I jumped over the bench. I said ‘I’m not staying on. I can’t even move my legs anymore.’ They were obviously trying to get me the third one. Kuzy [Evgeny Kuznetsov] set me up at the end there with that nice pass back door. He got the pad over, and guys were looking for me the whole third period.”

Here’s the first goal:

And the second: