Photo: Rob Carr
After being a healthy scratch for the past two games, Andre Burakovsky returned to the lineup Wednesday night against the Winnipeg Jets. Burakovsky hasn’t quite looked himself so far in 2015-16. His return to the lineup was somewhat unremarkable, as is to be expected if he continues to play with Jay Beagle and Jason Chimera.
Considering Burakovsky is not being deployed with teammates who will best maximize his skills, it will be important that he avoid any “big mistakes” that draw the ire of his coach. On Wednesday, he’s lucky that the Jets didn’t score on a 2-on-1 that was largely his responsibility, or else this mistake could stand out much more to Barry Trotz.
With about three minutes remaining in the first period, Matt Niskanen pinched along the wall to try to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Burakovsky, in the red circle, covers up for Niskanen nicely. If the Caps lose the puck battle along the wall, Burakovsky is in position to eliminate the potential odd man rush.
The Caps lose the board battle and, in the picture below, you can see the puck come to the Jets player in the middle of the ice. Burakovsky needs to back off here, as three Jets players are ready to spring up ice. As you can see below, he’s having thoughts about doing things that don’t include backing off.
The next image should be titled Yikes. Or what are you doing, ‘dre? Burakovsky gets over aggressive and the Jets, being a team playing in the most talented league in the world, are able to complete a simple pass by Burakovsky to unleash a 2-on-1.
This is no bueno.
Lucky for the Caps, and lucky for Burakovsky’s chances of getting a sweater again on Friday, the Jets were unable to convert. But, these are the types of decisions Burakovsky will need to minimize if he wants to re-cement his spot in the lineup
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