Quick Links

Andre Burakovsky is slated to practice fully on Friday

Andre Burakovsky is slated to practice fully on Friday

Andre Burakovsky is expected to take another significant step in his recovery from a broken hand on Friday morning in Arlington.

The Caps are scheduled to hit the ice at 11:30 for practice and, for the first time since mid-February, Burakovsky is slated to be a full participant, according to Coach Barry Trotz.

After the practice, Trotz said, the team will determine whether the 22-year-old will travel to Tampa. The Caps play the Lightning on Saturday night at Amalie Arena. 

“If he survives that,” Trotz said before Thursday’s 2-1 overtime loss to Nashville, “then maybe he goes.”

RELATED: How a bad line change cost the Caps in overtime

Even if Burakovsky does make the trip, that doesn’t mean he’ll play. But he’s getting close, which is a big deal for a Washington team that’s averaged 2.0 goals per game over the past eight contests (3-4-1).

The third line produced the Caps’ only goal against the Predators—Brett Connolly capitalized on a turnover that Lars Eller forced—but prior to that strike the unit had been scuffling without Burakovsky.

In fact, in the 15 games before Burakovsky got hurt, the trio combined for 20 goals and 36 points. Since he’s been out, Connolly and Eller have a total of three goals and seven points.

The hope, Trotz said, is that Burakovsky’s speed and skill—and the chemistry the unit forged in January and early February—will help propel the line back to its pre-injury level.

“One of the things with Burakovsky is he obviously brings another level of skill,” Trotz said. “He’s chomping at the bit to get back in. He can make some pretty good plays.”

Whenever Burakovsky does return, Trotz also said he expects to see a player with fresh legs after missing more than a month.

“He’ll be fresh,” he said. “He’ll be ready to go. They were pretty productive before he got hurt, so when he gets back into the lineup, hopefully that line will get going a little bit more.”

MORE CAPITALS: Caps fall to Preds in OT, lose fifth of last six

Quick Links

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Brett Connolly

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Brett Connolly

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.

They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

Up first are the Capitals breakout candidates.

First, we previewed Tom Wilson.

Today we are looking at Brett Connolly.

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF BRETT CONNOLLY IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

2017-18 CAPITALS BREAKOUT CANDIDATE: Brett Connolly

Position: Right Wing
Age: 25
NHL Seasons: 6 (276 games)
2016-17 Stats: 15 goals, 8 assists, +20 plus/minus

Tarik El-Bashir's Breakout Preview: 
After playing the last three seasons on one-year deals, Connolly finally has a little security after inking a two-year, $3 million contract with the Caps earlier this month.

It’s a hefty raise over the $850,000 he earned last season, and it’s emblematic of the higher expectations that he’ll shoulder in 2017-18.

Connolly’s first season in Washington was a strange one. It began with him sitting out as a healthy scratch, and it ended with him sitting out as a healthy scratch. But in between, the former first round pick was remarkably efficient, scoring a career-high 15 goals in 66 games, while skating fewer than 11 minutes per.

Next season, Connolly’s role and playing time are expected to increase … and so, too, are his numbers.

Jill Sorenson's Keys to Breakout:
1.  Maturity: "He's finally settling in and understands what it means to be a pro hockey player. He feels like this is a good fit for him. He's ready to handle the increased pressure and increased responsibillity."

2.  Comfort Level: "He feels like Washington is where he wants to be. He has a nose for the net, and with that comfort level now with this team, that natural scoring abillity I expect will come through."

Prediction: Total Points
Tarik: 21 goal, 16 assists
Jill: 20 goals, 18 assists

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

Quick Links

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.

They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

Up first are the Capitals breakout candidates. The first of the three selections is Tom Wilson. 

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF TOM WILSON IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

2017-18 Capitals Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

Position: Right Wing
Age: 23
NHL Seasons: 4 (313 games)
2016-17 Stats: 7 goals, 12 assists, 133 penalty minutes

Tarik El-Bashir's Breakout Preview:
After mustering only seven goals in 82 regular season games, Tom Wilson scored three times against his hometown Maple Leafs in the opening round of the playoffs.

Was the offensive outburst a blip, or the start of a trend? The Caps, obviously, hope it’s the latter—and there’s reason to believe it could happen. The 23-year-old former first rounder is entering a contract year but, more important, he’s expected to play a bigger role in 2017-18. Bigger role + better linemates + more ice time = more goal production.

Makes sense, right?

Jill Sorenson's Keys to Breakout:
1.  Health: "This will be only his third season fully healthy. I look at that, from a chronological standpoint as a reason to up his production."
2.  Responsibility: "He would be a good addition on the power play in front of the net. he has that net-front pressence and they like when he plays on a line with Alex Ovechkin."

Prediction: Over/Under 18 Goals
Tarik: 18. Push.
Jill: 21. Over.