News and Notes from Thursday’s Capitals Morning Skate: Is Andre Burakovsky In or Out?

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After being off for five days with the mandatory NHL bye week, the Capitals are back in action! On Thursday night, they’ll take on the Devils before hosting the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night. The team initially was supposed to hold a practice on Wednesday afternoon to get back into the routine and the grind. Due to travel delays to New Jersey with inclement weather, Wednesday’s practice was canceled which gave the team only the morning skate Thursday morning to prepare for their contest tonight at Prudential Center. 

THE MORNING LINES

Ovechkin-Backstrom-DSP
Vrana-Kuznetsov-Wilson
Connolly-Eller-Oshie
Stephenson-Beagle-Chiasson
Djoos-Carlson
Orlov-Niskanen
Orpik-Bowey

NEWS

Andre Burakovsky, who missed the last two games prior to the bye week with an illness, was on the ice for morning skate but was scratched from the line rushes. That could mean that he will miss his third straight game. Burakovsky rotated in on the fourth line that featured Chandler Stephenson, Jay Beagle, and Alex Chiasson. Capitals head coach Barry Trotz confirmed after the skate that Burakovsky will be out for tonight’s game. It has nothing to do with numbers or production but rather due to him not being on the ice for a week. Trotz also said he expects Burakovsky to be in the lineup tomorrow.

Aside from the usual morning skate rushes, the Capitals also put in some extra time on the ice with a scrimmage.

Braden Holtby was in the starter’s net, indicating that he’ll start the first game of the back-to-back set. That likely means Philipp Grubauer will get the start Friday night at home against the Canadiens. In his career against the Devils, Holtby has posted a 14-3-2 record with four shutouts, a 1.83 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage. Holtby’s four shutouts are the most shutouts he has against a single opponent and his 14 wins are tied for the most wins he’s posted against a team. That other team is the Bruins.

The Devils held a morning skate of their own prior to the Caps taking the ice. Keith Kinkaid was in the starter’s net and will get the nod in goal for the second straight game. The Devils are coming off a 4-1 road win over the Islanders. In that game Kinkaid was stellar, stopping 25-of-26 shots for a .962 save percentage. Kinkaid is 6-3-2 this season with a 3.10 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage.

Despite not playing hockey for five days, the Capitals are still in first place in the Metropolitan Division five points ahead of the Devils.

GAME NOTES

CAPS TODAY

SHAVINGS

  • Thursday’s contest between the Capitals and Devils is the third of four meeting between the teams this season. The Capitals have won both matchups.
  • The Capitals are 107-74-13-14 all-time against the Devils including 45-45-7-6 at in New Jersey.
  • The Capitals have earned a point in nine consecutive games against the Devils (8-0-1) and have won three of their last four games by a score of 5-2.
  • Alex Ovechkin has earned 52 points (22 goals, 30 assists) in 47 games against New Jersey and has tallied 13 points in his last 10 games against the Devils (5 goals, 8 assists).
  • John Carlson, who grew up a Devils fan while growing up in New Jersey, has 20 points (4 goals, 16 assists) in 29 games vs. the Devils. It’s tied for the most points he’s had against a single franchise (Tampa Bay: 5 goals, 15 assists in 32 games).
  • Lars Eller has a goal in four straight games, the longest goal streak of any Capital this season.
  • The Capitals are 5-2-2 on the front end of back-to-backs and 4-5-0 in the second game.
  • Nicklas Backstrom is one goal shy of passing Alex Semin (197) for fifth place on the Capitals all-time goals scored list.

CAPITALS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

By Michael Marzzacco

About Michael Marzzacco

Michael is an avid DC sports fan with a passion for writing. He has followed the Washington Capitals since the 2003-04 season, around the time his enthusiasm for DC teams really began. It was from the days when they had the worst record in the league to when they became the most exciting team in the area. His Dad took him to his first Caps game a couple of years later. One of his favorite memories was being in the stands during the 2015 Winter Classic where Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left. Michael graduated from Radford University in May 2016, earning a degree in journalism and focusing on sports journalism and broadcasting. His goal is to work in sports media in Washington, D.C.
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2 Responses to News and Notes from Thursday’s Capitals Morning Skate: Is Andre Burakovsky In or Out?

  1. Personally, I think Barry Trotz is full of shit. Any excuse will do for him to sit Burakovsky despite the glaringly obvious fact that the Capitals still don’t get enough scoring punch from their third and fourth lines…I really think Trotz has issues with Andre that have never gone away dating back to his misuse of Burakovsky as a center when he first came up.

    Coach Trotz often jerked him around, and cut his minutes for lapses that I’ve seen Kuznetsov, Ovechkin and poker faced Teacher’s Pet Nicklas Backstrom commit frequently. Last season, if you’ll recall, while the media was praising Andre for his “breakout” with 13 goals shortly before he was injured at the mid year point, one astute beat writer pointed out that ‘Dre was still only on the ice for 13 minutes per game–about four minutes per period–again, despite the Caps’ continuing lack of scoring output from the lower two lines.

    Look. If Trotz really thinks Andre isn’t performing the way his talent suggests he ought to and he REALLY wants to show him some tough love, instead of sitting him him the press box he ought to either send him down to Hershey or TRADE HIM…

    I certainly could be wrong, but my guess is that if that happen,s Burakovsky will get a fresh start under a coach he isn’t afraid of who’s a lot better at coaxing talent out of him than Trotz is and he’ll perform the way he never was allowed to in Washington…

    End,

    Clifford
    Sta. Monica

    Like

  2. Pingback: News and Notes from Friday’s Capitals Optional Skate: If Andre Burakovsky Is In, Who Will Likely Be Out? | NoVa Caps

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