Andre Burakovsky Responds After Benching, Again

Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

After being benched for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Andre Burakovsky returned to the lineup for Game 6 and was a difference-maker in the decisive game 7 against Tampa Bay. His play  was solid, his head was in the game, and he looked confident on the ice, ultimately scoring two goals in the final game of the series.

Andre Burakovsky has been benched before, following low-points in his brief career. And more often than not, he’s responded to the scratches by raising his game and making a statement. Burakovsky did just that in Game 7 on Wednesday night.

First Goal
Burakovsky showed confidence in attacking veteran Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi, causing a turnover, gathering the puck, steadying the shot and firing far side for the Capitals second goal of the game.


Second Goal
The Capitals caught the Lightning in a line change, and credit Burakovsky for realizing this. John Carlson makes a great outlet pass off the wall to Burakovsky, who read the pass before it happened, immediately turned and headed up ice. Burakovsky read the pass off the boards and finished five-hole on Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy.

After a down week in which Burakovsky stated he would be working with a Sports Psychologist this summer to improve his confidence and self-talk, Burakovsky responded in a big way in Game 7.

Remember, Burakovsky had a “minor surgery” in the last couple of weeks, and missed earlier playoff games due to an “upper body injury”.  If we had to guess, he was possibly suffering from a dislocated shoulder of some degree, but that’s just a guess. Regardless, he’s on the mend.

The Capitals will certainly need Burakovsky playing at this level in the final round against high-flying Vegas. The series gets underway Monday night in Las Vegas. Puck drop is just after 8:00 PM.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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6 Responses to Andre Burakovsky Responds After Benching, Again

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  2. Since this isn’t new, the serial benchings beg an obvious question–at least to me: Why does Andre–despite OBVIOUS talent–apparently need to be told the same things over and over and over again? I just don’t get it. I love this kid…If you look at the goals he scores, they’re often “sweet hands” goals like the pair he scored last night. You can’t teach hands and scoring instincts like he has…If he ever earns regular PT I think you can pencil Andre in for a minimum of 30 goals a year–probably more… To me he has a very delicate psyche–perhaps too delicate–at least now…And his plan to see a sports psychologist could pay off in a big way down the road…

    As for the upcoming series, this one will be at least as challenging physically and mentally as us getting past the Penguins for the first time in the playoffs. Vegas not only forechecks like Pittsburgh, they also back check like a law’s about to be made against it and they fight for the puck like it’s the Hope Diamond for a full 60 minutes. On top of all that, Fleury’s been tending goal like Ken Dryden and Tony Esposito during their primes.

    All of that remarked, we need all hands on deck in order to pull this off against VGK. Yes, we need the Andre we saw last night and at other times during his tenure here. But if we play to our size, skate hard for a full 60 minutes (or more if it’s required), if Holtby continues to play like HoltBEAST and Oshie keeps playing the way he has been recently, etc, etc, we can DO this…

    If we don’t match the other team’s renowned intensity on both sides of the puck, though, it could get ugly…



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