News and Notes From Capitals’ Morning Skate: Stephenson in for Burakovsky

The Capitals were back on the ice after taking a day off yesterday to prepare for a big divisional clash against the New Jersey Devils, who lost 4-3 last night in a shootout to the Buffalo Sabres to end a six-game winning streak. The Caps finish off a short two-game homestand against the Devils after a 4-3 shootout win against the Boston Bruins on Thursday. Here are the news and notes from today’s morning skate: 

Capitals Lines vs. Devils

News

Andre Burakovsky will be a healthy scratch against New Jersey tonight. Since returning from surgery on his left thumb on December 8 against the New York Rangers, he has two goals and four points in 10 games. Both of those goals came against the Dallas Stars on December 19 when he also tallied an assist. He has three goals and eight points through 19 games this season.

With Burakovsky out against the Devils, Chandler Stephenson slots in on the fourth line and Jakub Vrana moves to the second power-play unit.

Defenseman Taylor Chorney will be in for Madison Bowey, who will also be a healthy scratch tonight. Chorney has missed the past three games. The game in Arizona last Friday was his first game since November 25 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Chorney has a goal, three points, and a +8 rating, which is tied for third on the team with Alex Ovechkin.

With a win tonight, Barry Trotz will pass Lindy Ruff for fifth place on the all-time coaches win list. Each has 736 wins, though Ruff has coached 12 more games than Trotz entering tonight.

The Capitals are one point behind the Devils for first place in the Metropolitan Division after the Devils lost to the Sabres in overtime last night. The Devils enter play tonight with two games in hand on the Capitals.

Shavings

-The Capitals have not lost to the Devils in regulation since November 14, 2014. They are 11-0-1 against New Jersey since, including a 5-2 win at Prudential Center on October 13.

Marcus Johansson will play his first game at Capital One Arena since being traded to the Devils on July 2. In 18 games with the Devils this season, he has four goals, seven points, and a -5 rating. In 501 career games with Washington, he had 102 goals and 290 points with a +22 rating. He sits two points shy of 300 career points entering tonight’s game.

-Alex Ovechkin’s +23 rating against the Devils is his highest +/- against a single opponent. He has 22 goals and 49 points in 46 career games against New Jersey.

Nicklas Backstrom‘s +17 rating against the Devils is his highest +/- against a single opponent. He has seven goals and 30 points in 39 career games against New Jersey.

Braden Holtby is 13-3-2 against the Devils with a .930 save percentage and a 1.82 goals against average. His four shutouts against New Jersey mark the most he’s had against any opponent. Holtby’s 13 wins is tied for his second-most against a team (Bruins, 14; Islanders: 13).

-Tonight marks the final game of 2017 for the Capitals. In the calendar year, the Capitals own a 57-23-6 record, good for 120 points in 86 games. They are one of three teams with 50+ wins in 2017 (Tampa Bay and St. Louis each have 50). The Capitals’ 280 goals for rank first, while their 214 goals against rank eighth. Their 23.8 power play percentage ranks fifth, while their 80.8 penalty kill percentage ranks 14th.

-In 22 games this season against Eastern Conference opponents, the Capitals are 14-6-2, and their 30 points are tied for the third-most in the NHL.

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By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was seeing T.J. Oshie's hat-trick​ during Game 1 of the Caps' second round playoff series against Pittsburgh in 2016. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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7 Responses to News and Notes From Capitals’ Morning Skate: Stephenson in for Burakovsky

  1. I’ve got a two part question for anyone covering this team who has the guts or the brains to answer it:

    1) In addition to being a healthy scratch, why the fuck has Andre Burakovsky only been on the ice for nine minutes in each of his last two games after scoring two BIG goals (including the game winner in OT a few games ago)? Tariq, since you ferreted out this information it would be nice if you grew a pair and took the time to ask the coach (on behalf of Caps fans) why?

    2) Accordingly, how come NO ONE in the local Washington beat writers dares to ask his Royal Highness Barry Trotz why Burakovsky doesn’t get 20 minutes a game in order to further develop his talent as well as chemistry with other line mates?

    Other players on this club who disappear for weeks at a time offensively or defensively still get PT. But for some reason Andre doesn’t get a fair shake with the fat guy. If Trotz doesn’t want Burakovsky on the club he should go to GMBM and get him traded for someone he respects enough to PLAY–like, say, Filip Forsberg….

    What? Did you say that Trotz had Forsberg on his roster back when he was coach of the Preds? And did GMGM tradethe one-time jewel of our farm system to the Preds in the first place for a pair of future Hall-of-Famers named Erat and Latta???????

    This team blows hot and cold, and Barry Trotz–particularly due to his maldevelopment of young players–has plenty to do with it…He seems absolutely incapable of bringing the best out of young players and can’t seem to come up with any strategy more imaginative than limiting minutes or else invoking “DNPCD”…

    Either PLAY Burakovsky or TRADE him…

    PS: Tariq, please grow some balls and ask hard follow up questions instead of cheerleading and toeing the company line all of the time…

    Disgusted,
    Clifford

    Like

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