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With Andre Burakovsky injured, Alex Chiasson appears to be the 'next man up'

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With Andre Burakovsky injured, Alex Chiasson appears to be the 'next man up'

The injury to Andre Burakovsky will force some line shuffling from Barry Trotz and a new player to step into the top six. For now, it appears the 'next man up' will be Alex Chiasson.

Based on practice, Tom Wilson will remain with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, Jakub Vrana moves from the second line to the third and Chiasson steps onto the second line alongside Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Chiasson seems a curious choice considering he has managed only one point in his first eight games with the Capitals. Plus, he spent most of the summer unsure of whether he would even have an NHL job this season and was originally signed to the Caps on a professional tryout.

RELATED: ANDRE BURAKOVSKY HAS SURGERY ON BROKEN THUMB

But Chiasson’s history and work ethic has caught Barry Trotz's eye.

“Last year I played with [Johnny Gaudreau] and [Sean Monahan] for good amount of time in Calgary,” Chiasson said Tuesday. “Different types of players, but there's a lot of similarities between those guys and these guys here.”

“He's played with some skill guys and I just think he works at his game and from that standpoint I think it's real important that you reward those guys who keep working on their game,” Trotz said of Chiasson after Monday’s practice.

Wait, what? The Caps are promoting a player to the Ovechkin and Kuznetsov line as a “reward?” They’re 4-4-1, can they afford to hand out spots in the top-six as rewards?

You can if that player understands and embraces the role he is expected to play on that line.

“I know what those guys like, they like a guy in front of the net for chances,” Chiasson said. “They do love the puck in the offensive zone as much as they can so I'm going to try my best to get those retrievals for them and be more than a one and done type offensive line.”

Chiasson won’t be expected to produce at the same rate as an Ovechkin and Kuznetsov. He won’t be expected to dazzle with amazing passes to set up beautiful goals or deke defensemen out of their skates. His job will be to get in front of the net, battle for pucks in the dirty areas and make sure the team keeps possession for as long as possible when his line is out on the ice. The more times he retrieves the puck, the more opportunities Ovechkin and Kuznetsov will have to score.

“First of all, net-front presence is a big thing and then second thing is retrievals,” Chiasson said. “There's an opportunity, I've got to be first on the puck for a rebound or things like that and get on the forecheck and get those pucks for those guys. That's what these guys want.”

MORE CAPITALS: ALEX OVECHKIN LOOKS JUST FINE AFTER MONDAY'S INJURY SCARE

Obviously, Chiasson is not going to be the offensive focal point of that line, but he also knows he always needs to be ready for the puck when Kuznetsov is on the ice. He compared Kuznetsov’s vision to that of Erik Karlsson whom he played with for two seasons while with the Ottawa Senators.

“Karl was the type of guy that you had to be ready. You would think he didn’t see you, but he knew exactly where you were. There's only a few players like that in the league. I think Kuzy's one of them here. But definitely you've got to be aware of everything that's going on on the ice.”

“I wish I had that vision and the things that he does,” Chiasson added. “I don't think you've got to be scared with that, you've just got to go and enjoy it and make the best out of it.”

Check out the latest episode of the Capitals Faceoff Podcast!

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2018 NHL Awards Tracker: Resetting after the bye week

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2018 NHL Awards Tracker: Resetting after the bye week

A week by week look at where the race for the major individual NHL awards stands and which Caps could be in contention.

There is not much movement from the Caps on the Awards Tracker this week because of the bye week. It's time to reset and look at which players could make a second-half run at some hardware this season.

John Carlson

In contention for: Norris

All-Star snub aside, you cannot deny the impact Carlson has had on this team this year. He is fifth in the NHL in ice time per game and second among all defensemen in points with 35. His play on both the offensive and defensive end of the ice should have him on the shortlist of Norris candidates, even if he's not among the top three just yet.

SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE

Braden Holtby

In contention for: Vezina

Yes, Holtby’s GAA and save percentage are not as good as in previous years, but he is excelling at perhaps the most important stat of all: Wins. Holtby sits second in the league in wins with 24. Of all the goalies ranked in the top ten for wins this season, only one, Pekka Rinne, has played in fewer games than Holtby's 34.

Alex Ovechkin

In contention for: Hart

Alex Ovechkin, for the moment, leads all players in goals with 28 and he is doing it at the age of 32. What's more, he is the best player on a team sitting in first place in the competitive Metropolitan Division, a place not many expected the Caps to be in this season.

Barry Trotz

In contention for: Jack Adams

There's no question over who is getting the most out of his talent and that is Gerard Gallant in Vegas. But a reasonable argument could be made to say Barry Trotz is doing his best coaching job in Washington this season with the Caps in first place int he division. Given all the uncertainty over this team when the season started, the fact he has gotten them to this point should at least put him in consideration.

Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!

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Game 47: Capitals vs. Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 47: Capitals vs. Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-CANADIENS GAME?

The Capitals (28-14-4) take on the Canadiens (18-21-6) Friday, January 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Washington.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-CANADIENS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at  6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals vs. Canadiens
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-CANADIENS GAME?

The Capitals-Canadiens game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-CANADIENS OPEN THREAD

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

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.