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Burakovsky ready to prove he belongs in lineup

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Burakovsky ready to prove he belongs in lineup

Andre Burakovsky will return to the Capitals’ lineup tonight against the Winnipeg Jets (6:30 pregame, CSN) with the intent of showing he should have never come out.

“Obviously, it’s never fun to sit out but I’m back and I can prove I don’t belong in the stands,” Burakovsky said. “I just want to be out there on a top line soon.”

Burakovsky, 20, will play on a third line with center Jay Beagle and left wing Jason Chimera when the Caps take on the 10-10-2 Jets. He’ll replace Stan Galiev.

In 18 games this season Burakovsky has two goals, four assists, four penalty minutes and a minus-3 rating. When he removed him from the lineup Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said he wanted Burakovsky to clear his head.

“He’s working with one of our coaches we hired to sort of out things in compartments and deal with what he needs to deal with in his career,” said Trotz, who said he likes the idea of having another person for players to speak with.

“I know a conversation I’d have with a player if I ran into him at Starbucks would be a little different than in my office,” Trotz said. “Sometimes those offsite (meetings) – hey, let’s go for a coffee – are more meaningful than the ones when you pull a guy into your office and you’re saying, ‘I need you to do this.’

“It’s a different tone and a different way of doing it and sometimes you get better results. Everybody learns differently, everybody’s wired differently.”

Burakovsky said playing alongside north-south players like Beagle and Chimera should simplify his game.

“I need to get hard to the net, play a little heavier game,” he said. “I think skating wise and how I’ve  been handling  the puck has been really good. Just a couple small details with our system I need to be sharper on.”

No Orpik: Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik has not played since Nov. 10 and has not skated since Nov. 18 but Trotz continues to say his lower body injury is “nothing serious.”

“Obviously, it’s just not coming around as quick as we’d like,” Trotz said. “At the same time we’re in no hurry to get him back playing. If we can get him healthy then he’ll be fine.”

Share the Orlov: Despite two goals in his last two games, Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov saw a season-low 10:27 of ice time in the Caps’ 1-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers Monday night.

“Obviously, he’s feeling it with the puck,” Trotz said. “I’d like him not to feel it through the neutral zone as much, but in the offensive zone he’s feeling the puck and that’s a good thing.”

RELATED: T.J. Oshie delivers early Christmas gift to fan

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: And so we meet again

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: And so we meet again

We all knew this was coming, right?

The Capitals will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs for the third consecutive season and for the 11th time in franchise history. Washington has only beaten Pittsburgh once in their previous 10 series. This season gives them the opportunity to get over the second round and Pittsburgh hump once and for all.

Will this year be different? Will the Caps finally take down their arch nemesis? Will they finally advance to the conference final?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps-Penguins matchup in the Capitals Faceoff Podcast.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page

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Penguins will be without Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin for Game 1

Penguins will be without Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin for Game 1

As the Capitals and Penguins prepare to open their second-round series, significant injury news came out of Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Head coach Mike Sullivan informed the media that both Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin would not play in Game 1 due to injuries.

The fact that Hagelin would not be traveling with the team suggests that he will miss Game 2 as well, but that has not been confirmed. That also means that Malkin is at least a possibility for Game 2.

Malkin did not play in Game 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers after getting injured in a collision with Jakub Voracek in Game 5. Hagelin was injured in Game 6 on a big hit from Claude Giroux.

So when the series against Washington begins, Pittsburgh will be playing without two-thirds of its second line.

Malkin made a real push for the Hart Trophy this season with 42 goals and 98 points. He was a major factor in last season's Cup run with 28 points in 26 games and was gearing up for another big postseason with five points in his first five games.

But don't celebrate too much, Caps fans. It is not as if either loss will be crippling to Pittsburgh's offense.

Despite not having Malkin for the entire Game 6 and losing Hagelin midway through the second period, the Penguins still managed to put up eight goals on the Flyers in the series-clinching win.

Still, with scoring depth being such a strength for Pittsburgh, the Capitals need to take advantage. The Penguins will be without one of the best players in the NHL and that makes Game 1 crucial. Washington has gone down 0-2 in each of their past two playoff series including last year against Pittsburgh. They lost that series in seven games. They need to have a better start this year and with no Malkin or Hagelin for Game 1, this may be a must-win for the Caps.

Riley Sheahan and Dominik Simon skated with Phil Kessel on the second line at practice on Wednesday and it is a good bet that is how the second line will remain for Game 1. That way, Pittsburgh can keep its third line of Conor Sheary, Derick Brassard and Bryan Rust line together which has been very effective.

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