A few hours after falling into a two-games-to-none hole vs. the Blue Jackets, the Caps got more bad news Monday morning: Andre Burakovsky is out with an upper-body injury.
Burakovsky, who has missed significant time each of the past two seasons due to injuries, suffered an upper-body injury late in the first period of Sunday night's 5-4 OT loss on a heavy hit by Columbus’ Boone Jenner. Burakovsky did not return to the game.
“Andre has an upper body [injury],” coach Barry Trotz on a conference call with reporters on Monday. “He will not be traveling. He’s getting tests. He’s going to miss some time here.”
With Burakovsky out — rookie Jakub Vrana, a healthy scratch for Game 2 — is expected to step in as the left wing on Nicklas Backstrom’s line.
Trotz said he has confidence that Vrana, who skated just 6:58 in an uneven playoff debut last Thursday, will get the job done.
“Jake, it was his first playoff game and there was a lot of jitters in his game,” Trotz said. “I know we have to go through that the first game, in terms of the game was little bit overwhelming. As a staff, we looked at that. Jake is going to be fine. He’s going to fill that hole exactly what’s Burky’s done and…he’s going to play.”
For Burakovsky, it’s just the latest setback that the smooth skating, highly skilled winger has had to endure as he attempts to gain some traction as a top-six forward in the NHL. The 23-year-old played just 56 games this past regular season and only 64 contests the year before.
“For [Burakovsky], it’s frustrating,” Trotz said. “Our mentality is the next guy up. Next guy up will be Jakub Vrana. I feel bad for Andre because everything for a young player is about getting confidence and building on that. So, every time he’s played very, very well he’s had some injuries. This is a setback but he’ll come back strong.”