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Caps' Andre Burakovsky rejoins teammates, eyes return to game action

Caps' Andre Burakovsky rejoins teammates, eyes return to game action

Andre Burakovsky says he and the Caps’ medical staff have discussed next week as a potential target for his return to the lineup.

The 22-year-old winger has missed the last 14 games with a broken right hand.

Since Burakovsky has been out, his linemates, Lars Eller and Brett Connolly, have combined for just six points (2 goals, 4 assists).

“I feel pretty good,” Burakovsky said Tuesday after participating in the morning skate, his first on-ice activity with his teammates since getting hurt. “I still have got some issues with my hand. Obviously, it’s going to be like that for a while.”

RELATED: Prediction recap: Caps find their offense in win over Wild

Burakovsky was not a full participant in the skate, but he did engage in passing and shooting drills.

Afterward, he said that he’s making progress each day but is still experiencing some discomfort while shooting and stickhandling with his right hand.

“I was skating this weekend, on Saturday, and I could barely shoot the puck,” he said, referring to a non-contact scrimmage against members of the training and equipment staff. “And [just now] I was feeling good. I shot the puck pretty good and passing and stickhandling felt good, too.”

Asked about a return date, Burakovsky said internal discussions have pegged next week as an option. The Caps close out this week’s slate against Nashville on Thursday and in Tampa on Saturday, then they open a three-game home stand against Calgary (Tuesday), Columbus (Thursday) and Arizona (Saturday) next week.

”We’re talking about sometime next week, probably, that I can come back and play a game again,” Burakovsky said. “But it all depends on how I feel. Like I said, it’s day-to-day. Some days it hurts. Some days it feels better. So it's tough, really, to say an exact date.”

Tuesday was a good day—for his hand and his psyche.

“It’s been a good day for me,” he said. “I've been missing the boys. They’ve been on the road a lot and I’ve just been home. It’s been a couple of real tough weeks with [strength and conditioning coach] Mark Nemish, for sure. Skating with no pucks every day for an hour, it’s not a lot of fun. It’s really, really tough. I’m glad I’m past that right now and I'm looking forward to being with the team.”

Barry Trotz acknowledged that Burakovsky is progressing nicely, but the head coach declined to put a timeframe on the winger’s return.

“He was happy to see everybody; he’s been lonely,” Trotz cracked. “When I get the 'okay' for him, he’ll be back in the lineup. I don’t have a timeframe.”

Prior to getting hurt, Burakovsky was on a hot streak, having recorded 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) in 12 games.

MORE CAPITALS: Ovechkin has vintage performance when the Caps needed one

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Capitals vs. Penguins: Game 3 time, TV channel, how to watch, live stream

Capitals vs. Penguins: Game 3 time, TV channel, how to watch, live stream

Down 2-0 in the series, the Caps now face the daunting task of trying to battle back against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh. Following their loss in Game 2, the team held a players-only meeting. Will the message resonate and lead to a big performance in Game 3?

After giving up three goals in the second period on Saturday, Braden Holtby was pulled for Philipp Grubauer. On Monday, however, it will be Holtby in net to start again for Washington as he tries to find his Vezina form. Kevin Shattenkirk will also look for a bounce-back game after a tough start to the series. He now sits with a team-low plus/minus rating of minus-7.

Karl Alzner remains day-to-day. If he is ready to play Monday, could Barry Trotz choose to dress seven defensemen?

RELATED: CAPITALS vs. PENGUINS PLAYOFF PREVIEW

CAPITALS VS. PENGUINS GAME 3 HOW TO WATCH

Who: Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
What: Game 3 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, Eastern Conference Second Round
When: 7:30 p.m. ET on Monday, May 1
Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Online Stream: NBCSN's live stream pagee. Watch Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. and Caps Extra following the game with CSN's live stream page here.
TV Channel: NBC Sports Network
Radio: 1500 AM (Capitals Radio Network)

RELATED: STANLEY CUP POWER RANKINGS

WHEN IS CAPITALS-PENGUINS GAME 3?

The Capitals and Penguins square off in Game 3 of their 2017 second-round playoff series on Monday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

WHAT CHANNEL IS CAPITALS-PENGUINS GAME 3 ON?

Game 3 of the Capitals-Penguins series will be broadcast on NBC and CBC in Canada.

WHERE CAN I STREAM CAPITALS-PENGUINS GAME 3?

Capitals-Penguins Game 3 is available to stream live here through NBCSN's live stream page. Caps GameTime and Caps Extra pre and postgame shows are available to stream live here through CSN's live stream page.

WHAT ARE THE LINES FOR CAPITALS-PENGUINS GAME 3?

Here are the projected lines for Capitals-Penguins Game 3:

CAPITALS

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - Tom Wilson
Daniel Winnik - Jay Beagle - Paul Carey

Defense
Nate Schmidt - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Kevin Shattenkirk

Goalies
Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches
Brett Connolly, Karl Alzner, Taylor Chorney

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS GAME 1 LINES

Forwards
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Phil Kessel
Bryan Rust - Evgeni Malkin - Conor Sheary
Carl Hagelin - Nick Bonino - Scott Wilson
Chris Kunitz - Matt Cullen - Tom Kuhnhackl

Defense
Ian Cole - Justin Schultz
Brian Dumoulin - Ron Hainsey
Olli Maatta - Trevor Daley

Goalies
Marc-Andre Fleury starts with Tristan Jarry as backup

Scratches
Patric Hornqvist, Carter Rowney, Mark Streit, Chad Ruhwedel, Matt Murray

RELATED: 2017 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

CAPITALS-PENGUINS GAME 3 BETTING LINES

Stanley Cup Odds: Capitals 7/2 (+350), Penguins 17/4 (+425)
Game 3 Spread: Capitals +1.5
Game 3 Over/Under: 5.5 goals
Game 3 Money Line: Capitals (+105), Penguins (-125)

CAPITALS-PENGUINS GAME 3 OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

CSN ON TWITTER:
— CSN's official Capitals account CSN Capitals 
— Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir
— Capitals Digital Producer JJ Regan
— Capitals Desk Producer Troy Machir

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Keep up with all the action here with Capitals GameZone and join in on the conversation here with Capitals Pulse.

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Barry Trotz puts option of dressing seven defensemen on the table

Barry Trotz puts option of dressing seven defensemen on the table

Karl Alzner has been out of the lineup since Game 2 of the Capitals’ first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Just who he will replace in the lineup when he is ready to return, however, has become a topic of debate as Nate Schmidt has played well in his place and the Caps need his speed against a quick Pittsburgh Penguins team.

RELATED: Trotz says Shattenkirk's play is 'mooring' Caps' third pair

It has been speculated recently that perhaps head coach Barry Trotz could elect to dress seven defensemen. That sounds like a drastic option, but it is one Trotz has experience with having utilized it at times as head coach of the Nashville Predators.

“I've done it before and done it very successfully,” Trotz said on Friday. “... I found in my previous life that I didn't have as many offensive weapons that gave me an opportunity to put an offensive weapon in there a little bit more often in a regular rotation.”

Dressing seven defensemen would mean only 11 forwards, but Trotz seems to only be utilizing that many anyway. Paul Carey skated only 5:40 in Game 2. He was playing in place of Brett Connolly who played 6:07, 5:34, 6:12 and 4:26 in his last four games.

Alzner is considered day-to-day and there’s no timetable for when he may be able to return. If he were able to play in Game 3 or 4, however, given that the Caps are facing a series deficit and seem to be in need of some sort of spark, perhaps shifting the lineup to seven defensemen could be just what the doctor ordered.

“I'm fine with the seven D,” Trotz said. “If we have to go there, we'll go there. As a coach, you have to mix and match a little bit. I don't have any problem with that.”

MORE CAPITALS: Barry Trotz commits to Braden Holtby for Game 3