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It's confirmed: Andre Burakovsky will return to the Caps' lineup on Wednesday

It's confirmed: Andre Burakovsky will return to the Caps' lineup on Wednesday

PHILADELPHIA—Andre Burakovsky will indeed return to the Capitals’ lineup Wednesday against the Flyers, the winger confirmed after the morning skate.

Burakovsky, who hasn’t scored a goal since potting a pair in the season opener back on Oct. 13, sat out the last three games as a healthy scratch.

In the pre-game skate at Wells Fargo Center, Burakovsky was on the third line with Lars Eller and rookie Jakub Vrana. Burakovsky was the right wing, which is different from earlier in the week when he lined up on the left.

“That’s where he’s ultimately going to end up, so we’ll have him do that for a bit,” Coach Barry Trotz said of Burakovsky switching sides.

Burakovsky said he’s comfortable playing either wing—just so long as he’s playing.

RELATED: John Carlson is good to go vs. Flyers

“Yeah, it feels good to be back in,” he said with a smile. “I’m just going to have a good game today and hopefully stay in.”

The 21-year-old said he spent his time out of the lineup working on speeding up his release, recognizing soft spots in D-zone coverage, finding open shooting lanes and becoming less predictable.  

“Just getting my shot off a little bit quicker, shoot more, put myself in positon where I can score,” he said. “I said before, I don’t think my game was bad. It was just that I couldn’t produce and that’s what I’ve been working on and hopefully it will be back tonight.”

Burakovsky added: “I have been working on putting myself in position where I can have a quicker shot and get the puck a little bit quicker. Sometimes I put myself in position where I don’t really have any time and don’t really have any space to shoot, but I was just trying to get it through and it hit someone. So I’ve been working a little bit on just putting myself in an open spot and find open ice because I know in this league when you find open ice the puck will get to you. So it’s just a little something that’s going to help.”

Coach Barry Trotz said he’s looking for Burakovsky to do a little less thinking and play a little more instinctively.

“I think one of the things is when you're pressing, you overthink it a little bit,” Trotz said. “I think that's what he's implying...that he's going to get the puck and move his feet and then play instinctively off of that, whereas I think before he was getting the puck and looking for that next play rather than getting moving and getting into those spaces.”

“So,” Trotz continued, “I think just that mindset of being a little more decisive in what he's doing and it'll come a little quicker for him. Things close down in this level of hockey very quickly. When you're standing and trying to figure out where that puck should go, it closes down. There's too many smart players on the ice.”

Although he’s only got two goals and eight assists in 27 games, Burakovsky hasn’t lost belief in himself. 

“It’s not like last year,” he reiterated. “Last year I didn’t really have my confidence and I wasn’t really playing well at all. This year it’s been different. I think I’ve been playing good but it’s just the points haven’t been there for me like I wanted them to be. I mean, two goals in the first game and then nothing after that, that’s not really good. But I still had lot of chances and I could have produced a lot more. The chances are there. The day when I don’t shoot the puck that’s the day I’m going to be worried. So I’m not worried about my game at all. As long as I create chances, I’m fine.”

Burakovsky has two goals and an assist in six career games against the Flyers.

MORE CAPITALS: USA Today makes bold predictions on the Caps for 2017

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Watch T.J. Oshie teach his daughter Lyla how to ride a bike

Watch T.J. Oshie teach his daughter Lyla how to ride a bike

Despite the circumstances, the past few weeks have been an exciting time for the Oshie family.

Just over two weeks ago, Capitals forward T.J. Oshie and his wife, Lauren, welcomed their third child into the world, Campbell.

But on Sunday, it was the couple's oldest child, Lyla, that stole the show.

Lyla, who just turned six last month, accomplished something that she will remember for years to come: learning how to ride a bike.  

How adorable is that?

As Lyla bikes up the driveway, T.J. is a step behind her, making sure she doesn't fall. The Caps winger had an ear-to-ear grin on his face, such a proud dad.

With the NHL season on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, hopefully more Papa Oshie content comes as a result.

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With NHL season paused, a ranking of Capitals' best wins of 2019-20: No. 6

With NHL season paused, a ranking of Capitals' best wins of 2019-20: No. 6

While we wait for the NHL to hopefully resume its season, NBC Sports Washington is looking back at the 20 best wins of the Capitals' season so far. Mark Zaner, producer for Caps Faceoff Live and Caps Overtime Live, has watched every game. His rankings continue with No. 6, a 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 23 that featured lots of lead changes, a little bit of revenge for Carl Hagelin and a welcome-to-Washington moment for the newest Capital. 

WHAT HAPPENED 

It was a classic Capitals-Penguins game that felt like it should have been played in May. Jakub Vrana got the scoring started by showing off his speed. Off a defensive-zone draw, Vrana grabbed the puck and raced past both Penguins defensemen. Matt Murray made the blocker save as Vrana flew by the crease. The rebound was knocked into the net by defenseman Marcus Pettersson who was scrambling to recover. 

  

The second period belonged to Pittsburgh. Patric Hornqvist got his typical dirty goal by scoring off a deflection in front of Braden Holtby. Sidney Crosby gave the Penguins the lead just 26 seconds later with an almost identical goal as the one from Vrana. Crosby crashed the net, had his shot stopped, but the puck bounced in off a sliding T.J. Oshie. 

Tom Wilson brought the Caps even early in the third. Wilson swiped the puck from Pettersson in the neutral zone which resulted in a breakaway. He slipped a backhand past Murray for his 20th goal of the season. 

  

Great pressure from the Capitals resulted in their next goal. John Carlson’s shot from the blue line was denied, as was Lars Eller’s follow up in front of Murray. But former Penguin Carl Hagelin got the third attempt into the net as Washington regained the lead. 

 

Evgeni Malkin tied the game again at the 8:50 mark of the period by deking Carlson in open ice. Malkin threw the puck through Carlson’s legs, got it back on his stick, then beat Holtby clean. It took less than two minutes for the Caps to respond. Oshie had a couple of chances from the side of the cage before poking home one of his rebounds. 

  

Hagelin would score his second of the afternoon on an empty-netter to give the Capitals a 5-3 win. 

MEMORABLE MOMENTS 

It was Brenden Dillon’s third game with Washington after being acquired in a trade on February 18. How do you become an instant fan favorite? By getting into a fight with Malkin. With an official between them, Malkin and Dillon exchanged punches. As soon as the ref got out of the way, Malkin went into a shell. 

 

WHY IT WAS SIGNIFICANT 

Beating the Penguins is always important. This game had more added weight because of the standings. The two teams entered the afternoon tied on top of the Metro. Washington was able to regain the lead in the division. 

The two points were even more significant because the Capitals came into the game riding a season-high four-game losing streak. Three of those four losses were to teams that are currently outside of the playoffs looking in. It was probably the worst stretch of the Capitals’ season. So it was not just a vital win against their biggest rival, it was a much needed slump buster that allowed the Caps to keep the Metro lead. 
 
WHAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT 

Look, nothing against Crosby. He scored a goal and had a strong game overall. He’s undoubtedly one of the best players of his generation. But you see why Capitals fans don’t exactly like the guy. 

  

Lost in the eight goals and the Dillon-Malkin fight was a milestone for Carlson. His assist on Hagelin’s first goal was the 475th point of his career. He surpassed Calle Johansson for most points by a defenseman in franchise history. 

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