Andre Burakovsky needed a spark. In seven games playing alongside Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, Burakovsky had only two assists to show for his efforts.
In order to spark the young winger, Barry Trotz moved Andre Burakovsky to the third line. It looks like that was a good move.
In his first game on the third line on Friday, Burakovsky scored his first goal of the season as he wristed a blistering shot past Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek. Watch it in the player above.
The biggest issue for Burakovsky this season was waiting too long to get his shot off. Trotz's advice to him was, "Don't think too much." Burakovsky took those words to heart.
After taking the pass from Orlov, Burakovsky had room to work. Rather than waiting for the Red Wings to close the gap while aiming for the perfect shot, however, Burakovsky turned and immediately snapped the shot away.
It was a play he was not making in the first seven games. Will this goal spark the breakout season we have all been waiting for?
Coach Barry Trotz did not make any changes to his forward combos or defensive pairs of ahead of Friday’s showdown with the NHL-best Lightning.
He did, however, make a significant change elsewhere: Philipp Grubauer will get the nod against the Bolts as the Caps begin a tough back-to-back set that wraps up Saturday night in Toronto.
It’ll be Grubauer’s second start on home ice this season.
“Just to change a little bit of the order there,” Trotz explained. “Grubi has worked hard. It gives him an opportunity at home.”
HOW TO WATCH CAPS-LIGHTNING
Grubauer, who turns 26 on Saturday and has family in town, is still searching for his first win of the season. He’s 0-5-1 with a 3.86 goals against average and a .876 save percentage. In fairness, though, he’s drawn some tough assignments. In fact, four of his six starts have been the backend of a back-to-back.
“More than anything,” Trotz added, “he just deserved it.”
There’s also this: Grubauer is 3-0-1 vs. the Lightning in his career, with a .923 save percentage and a 2.61 goals against average.
Asked how much matchups factor into goaltending decisions, Trotz said: “A little bit but not really. I wanted to give him a home start, so why not now?”
With Grubauer set to face Nikita Kucherov and Co., Braden Holtby figures to get the Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.
MORE CAPITALS: HOW A PENALTY KILL DECIDED A GAME THAT WAS ALL ABOUT OFFENSE
Thanksgiving Day is a holiday that tends to be dominated by football. Even with the Redskins hosting the New York Giants on Thursday, the Capitals' still had their presence felt.
Andre Burakovsky decided to spend his Thanksgiving night at FedEx Field at the game to cheer on the Redskins. He tweeted out a picture from his seat.
Just as Burakovsky was there supporting the Redskins, Redskins offensive lineman Morgan Moses was showing love for the Caps with an Alex Ovechkin jersey.
The Redskins pulled out a critical 20-10 win over the division-rival Giants on Thursday giving everyone something to celebrate on the holiday. The Capitals will try to keep the hometown fans happy as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.
HOW TO WATCH CAPS-LIGHTNING