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Injured Andre Burakovsky to see specialist, Caps make a recall

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Injured Andre Burakovsky to see specialist, Caps make a recall

Andre Burakovsky has been placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury and will not travel with the Caps to Western Canada, Coach Barry Trotz said.

The team hopes to get a better feel for how long they’ll be without the 22-year-old winger after he sees a specialist on Tuesday afternoon.

“He’s going to miss some time,” Trotz said. “We don’t have the extent so that’s why he’s seeing the specialist. …All I know is he’s not on this trip and we’re gone for roughly a week.”

RELATED: WHY A ROAD TRIP COULD BE JUST WHAT THE CAPS NEED TO BREAK OUT OF THEIR SLUMP

If Burakovsky misses any significant amount of time, it’ll be a blow for the player, who is under pressure to produce after signing a two-year, $6 million extension in the offseason, and the team, which doesn’t boast the scoring depth it’s had in recent years. In fact, the scuffling Caps (4-4-1) have been held to two or fewer goals in three of the last four games. 

This marks the second year in a row that Burakovsky has gotten injured just as he was heating up. A year ago, he missed 15 games in the second half of the season with a broken right hand. 

“We’ll see what the specialist says first, but he’s just finally broke through, got a goal [in Detroit] and we were hoping that would get him some traction,” Trotz said. “And then he got hurt. That was sorta like last year.”

The coach added: “It seems he’s got that gift of finally getting some traction and then getting hurt. We’ll see what the specialist says and go from there.”

With Burakovsky placed on IR, the Caps called up Chandler Stephenson from Hershey ahead of their three-game road trip that’ll make stops in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. Based on Tuesday’s line rushes, though, Stephenson won’t be in the lineup when the Caps visit Vancouver on Thursday night.

MORE CAPITALS: JAY BEAGLE SCORED IN HIS 400TH GAME AND IT WAS AWESOME

Here’s how Trotz had the players lined up at KCI:

Forwards
Wilson – Backstrom – Oshie
Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Chiasson
Vrana – Eller – Connolly
Walker – Beagle – Smith-Pelly
Extra: Stephenson

Defense
Djoos – Carlson
Orpik – Bowey
Orlov – Chorney
Extra: Ness 

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Nicklas Backstrom is trying really hard not to get frustrated with lack of goals

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Nicklas Backstrom is trying really hard not to get frustrated with lack of goals

Nicklas Backstrom has made a career out of setting up other players, but what many forget is that he is a pretty darn good scorer in his own right. Just not these days.

Backstrom had three goals in the first six games of the season, but since then he has been held scoreless. His last goal game on Oct. 14 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

RELATED: LISTEN TO THE LATEST CAPITALS EXTRA PODCAST ON THE CAPS' WIN OVER MINNESOTA!

Offense, in general, has been hard to come by for the veteran center who also underwent a career-long seven-game pointless streak.

While Backstrom has managed to get back on the score sheet with three assists in his last five games, he still can’t seem to get a goal.

“Obviously you want to score,” Backstrom said. “That's a no brainer, but at the same time you've just got to stick with it. I mean, at least I created chances tonight.”

While the goals may not be there, however, the chances are. For Barry Trotz, that’s an encouraging sign.

“Backy was on the bench, I gave him a little tap I said you know the hockey gods will even that out,” Trotz said. “You probably could have had three tonight and he'll probably get one of those leaky lizards go through the legs or through the arms and one from a bad angle. They'll even it out for him.”

MORE CAPITALS: OVECHKIN GETS STITCHES AFTER GETTING HIT BY PUCK, BUT REMAINS INDESTRUCTIBLE

With Backstrom taking on a more defensive shutdown role this season, his offensive numbers have taken a hit. The Capitals, however, do not have the same scoring depth as in recent years and need Backstrom, still arguably their best center, to produce offensively in order to be successful. He is just too good of a player to not produce.

But given his recent play, Trotz is not all that concerned and believes the goals are coming. Backstrom seems to agree.

“The sun goes up the next day anyway even if I don't score,” he said, “So you've just got to stick with it, work hard and hopefully you'll get rewarded.”

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Alex Ovechkin gets stitches to the lip after getting hit by puck, but he remains indestructible

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Alex Ovechkin gets stitches to the lip after getting hit by puck, but he remains indestructible

It's always scary when you see a player get hit in the head with a puck. It's even scarier when you're a fan of the Caps and that player is Alex Ovechkin.

But there's is one thing you should always remember before you worry about the Great 8: He is not built like a normal human being.

Ovechkin was struck in the face by a puck in the second period of Saturday's game against the Minnesota Wild. It was a scary moment made scarier by the pool of blood he left behind on the ice as he made his way to the locker room.

RELATED: 4 REASONS WHY THE CAPS BEAT THE WILD

"Anybody who takes a puck to the face, you hope that they're not hurt badly," Barry Trotz said after the game. "Anytime you get hit to the face there's usually pretty good leakage. I saw, I knew he got hit in the face and in the mouth area and there was pretty good leakage around our bench and he went off and we were just hoping that it's not too serious."

Remarkably, it wasn't serious. Ovechkin missed the remainder of the second period, but returned for the third. After the game, there were a few stitches in his lip, but otherwise there appeared to be no serious damage.

Ovechkin said that after he had been hit he "Just tried to feel my tooth and it was fine. Just moving a little bit, but it's fine. It's hockey."

The fact that no serious damage was done turned what was a scary moment into one both players and coach could laugh at afterward.

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"He's a big strong man and he's got a few zippers so he's a lot better looking now that they fixed him up and all that," Trotz said. "It's when you get stitched up, that's the great thing about medicine, they can make you look great."

"It can be much worser," Ovechkin said when asked if he was scared in the moment. "I could lose my teeth."

Nicklas Backstrom had the same thought many of you are probably asking yourself right now: "Does he have any more teeth?"

It was just another reminder that Ovechkin is truly a machine. You know what they say, "Russian Machine...never gets broken."

I think that's how the saying goes.