TAMPA—Nicklas Backstrom and Andre Burakovsky are game-time decisions for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on Friday, according to Coach Barry Trotz.
Backstrom, the Caps’ best two-way forward, has been sidelined since Game 5 of the Pittsburgh series. Although the veteran center skated on his own at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Thursday, Backstrom did not participate in the morning skate at Amalie Arena.
While it would seem unlikely that Backstrom would return having not participated in a full practice or morning skate, Trotz said when a player of his caliber says he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go.
Burakovsky, meantime, looked like a player who will be good to go come game time.
Indeed, the skilled winger took all of his reps on a rejiggered third line that featured Chandler Stephenson sliding over to center and Brett Connolly playing right wing during the morning skate.
#Caps lines at the Game 1 morning skate:— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) May 11, 2018
*Eller stays in Backstrom’s place.
*Stepenson shifts to center as Burakovsky returns.#CapsBolts
Burakovsky said he feels ready to return but conceded he still needs final clearance from the Caps’ medical staff.
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