Washington Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky will be reevaluated Monday after suffering an upper body injury that knocked him out of the 5-4 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 2 on Sunday night at Capital One Arena.
Burakovsky, who was injured late in the first period on a check by Columbus’s Boone Jenner, did not return to the bench for the second period and was eventually ruled out as Washington lost in overtime for the second consecutive game to fall into a 2-0 series deficit. Washington Coach Barry Trotz did not specify whether Burakovsky would be ready for Game 3 in Columbus on Tuesday night, but his absence would put the Capitals down a top-six forward as they stare down yet another potential disappointing playoff exit.
It was the second consecutive game that Washington not only surrendered a 2-0 lead in the first period and eventually lost in overtime, but also the second straight performance in which it lost a player prematurely due to injury; defenseman Michal Kempny left Thursday’s Game 1 early after being checked into the boards by Columbus’s Josh Anderson. Kempny was back in the lineup Sunday night.
With Burakovsky out, rookie Chandler Stephenson was promoted to Nicklas Backstrom’s line. Should Burakovsky not be able to play in Game 3, Stephenson would likely have an expanded role; that scenario could also re-open the door for Jakub Vrana, who was a healthy scratch for Game 2, replaced by Jay Beagle.
Nonetheless, Burakovsky’s early exit Sunday dampens what had been a strong month for the 23-year-old. Burakovsky had three goals and three assists in his final eight games of the regular season.
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