The Washington Capitals are in uncharted territory as they’re in the Eastern Conference final for the first time since 1998. The Caps finally got by the rival Pittsburgh Penguins without two key players. However, Washington might be getting back forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Andre Burakovsky for Game one of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Nicklas Backstrom Skates With Team
The Swedish forward missed the clinching Game six against the Penguins with a hand injury. He and Burakovsky both travelled with the team and Backstrom practiced on Thursday.
— dckerNBC4 (@dckerNBC4) May 10, 2018
Washington head coach Barry Trotz said that Backstrom is still day-to-day. Backstrom hurt his hand in Game five of the conference semifinals. He has three goals and 10 assists in 11 playoff games. Backstrom totalled 21 goals and 50 assists in the regular season.
Andre Burakovsky Practices
The Austrian forward travelled with the team and practiced for the first time on Wednesday. Burakovsky was upgraded from week-to-week to day-to-day.
We might get more information on Nicklas Backstrom's health today. For now, here's the latest update on him (and Andre Burakovsky) from yesterday's practice: https://t.co/3AiTZTeUUt
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) May 10, 2018
He missed the entire second round series when he suffered an upper-body injury in the first round after receiving a hit from Columbus Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner. Burakovsky had surgery and has been making progress since then. He’s only played in two postseason games this season and registered 12 goals and 13 assists in the regular season.
What It Means For the Future
Getting both of these forwards will be huge because Tampa Bay boasts plenty of forward depth. Backstrom is a proven goal-scorer and Burakovsky has the potential to break out.
“Everybody playing the right way. I thought we checked really well. We played a game that we needed to play,” Trotz said. “We knew that we had to be very compact in our game, precise, and we needed four lines, and that’s what we did.
Burakovsky might take some time to work his way back in the lineup. However, he’s a key piece for Washington.
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