AndreBurakovsky

Report: Caps sign ’13 first-rounder Burakovsky

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Sounds like the Washington Capitals got what they wanted from Andre Burakovsky.

Burakovsky, the club’s first-round selection (23rd overall) at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has reportedly signed his entry-level contract with the Caps, meaning he’ll leave Sweden to play in North America next season.

News of the signing comes from MrMadhawk.se — a Swedish site dedicated to SEL club Malmo, where Burakovsky has played since 2009-10 — in which the 18-year-old confirms he signed a three-year tender with Washington.

Here’s the translation of the interview, from Caps site Russian Machine Never Breaks:

What happens now?

Burakovsky: I’ll come to camp in September and try to break through as quickly as possible. I can play in the AHL and I can go to Erie. It’s up to Washington now, they’ll decide what’s best for me.

When did this come up?

Burakovsky: It was a while ago. My agent Patrik Aronsson has worked hard to solve it and they were eager to bring me over. It shows they believe in me and it will be great to move over there.

Do you expect to play in the NHL as soon as this year?

Burakovsky: I don’t know. We’ll see. Maybe I can do something like what [former Caps draftee] Filip Forsberg did at the end of last season [with Nashville, playing in five games].

I’m going over in September, then we’ll take it from there.

Burakovsky is eligible to play at the OHL, AHL or NHL level next season because he spent last year in the Allsvenskan, the second tier of the Swedish hockey ladder.

The Caps are high on Burakovsky — his father, Robert, played 23 games for the Ottawa Senators in 1993-94 — and were keen to get him to North America this season, with either Erie (who hold his OHL draft rights) or Hershey, the club’s American League affiliate.

Update: Burakovsky has committed to playing with OHL Erie next season, the team has announced.

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.