Author: Ryan Dadoun

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 10: Andre Burakovsky #65 of the Washington Capitals in action against the New Jersey Devils at Verizon Center on October 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Washington Capitals won, 5-3. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Where does Backstrom’s return leave Burakovsky?

1 Comment

Andre Burakovsky began the 2015-16 campaign as Washington’s second-line center, but he was just there to help fill the void left by Nicklas Backstrom. So now that Backstrom has returned from his hip surgery, where does that leave Burakovsky?

With the Capitals third line clicking, Burakovsky went all the way down to the fourth line on Saturday. The 20-year-old isn’t likely to remain in that role and in fact might not have regular linemates for a while.

“Bert’s pretty good offensively,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz told the Washington Post. “He could move up a little bit, but he’s going to be a little bit of a swing guy probably for a little bit here. When I’m looking for a little more speed or offense, I’ll probably be throwing him up.”

He might specifically find himself getting the odd shift alongside Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin in place of T.J. Oshie, who Trotz wants to be careful about overworking given the fact that Oshie also logs big minutes in penalty killing and power-play situations.

While Burakovsky began the season as a center, that’s not his natural position and occasionally filling in for a right winger like Oshie would likely be more in his comfort zone. Not that Burakovsky is likely to be particular as he tries to claw his way up the depth charts.

“That’s something I’m trying to fight for every day, to get up in the lines a little bit here,” Burakovsky said. “Obviously, now it’s fun to have [center Chandler Stephenson] on my line, the two youngest guys on the team playing together, so that’s kind of fun. But obviously, I want to get up in the lines here and play with the top-six guys here.”

PHT Morning Skate: Avs unveil fan voted 20th anniversary team

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 13:   Center Joe Sakic #19 of the Colorado Avalanche looks to play the puck as teammate  center Peter Forsberg #21 skates for position against the San Jose Sharks during Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Compaq Center in San Jose, California on May 13, 2002. The Avalanche won 2-1. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images/NHLI)
Getty Images/
1 Comment

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

As part of the Colorado Avalanche’s celebration for their 20th anniversary season (not including their time as the Quebec Nordiques), the team held a fan vote to assemble the franchise’s all-time roster. (

The Toronto Maple Leafs might not have a great record, but there have been some early season positives. (Toronto Sun)

Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz is “curious” to watch Connor McDavid. Washington will play Edmonton on Friday. (CSN Mid-Atlnatic)

Here’s a recap of what happened this weekend in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. (Puck Daddy)

Do the Ottawa Senators have an offensive depth problem? (Ottawa Citizen)

Patric Hornqvist is upbeat about the Pittsburgh Penguins’ work with the man advantage, even if it hasn’t produced results yet. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Bergeron rallies late to push Bruins past Coyotes

Patrice Bergeron, Mike Smith
AP Photo

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Patrice Bergeron scored twice in the last 11 minutes to lift the Boston Bruins to a 5-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.

Tyler Randell, Dave Krejci and Brad Marchand also scored to help the Bruins win their second straight. Tuukka Rask stopped 20 shots for his first win of the season, and Krejci and Torey Krug each had two assists.

Shane Doan had a goal and two assists, and Tobias Rieder and Kyle Chipchura also scored for Arizona. The Coyotes have lost two straight after opening the season with three wins.

Rieder and Chipchura scored 2 1/2 minutes apart in the third quarter to tie the score with about 13 1/2 minutes to go.

Bergeron then redirected a pass from Ryan Spooner into the net for the go-ahead power-play score at 9:10 of the period. Bergeron then added his third of the season with 1:06 left to seal the win.

Marchand’s short-handed breakaway goal at 4:44 of the third period extended Boston’s lead to 3-1 before the Coyotes rallied to tie it.

Doan gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead with his first goal of the season at 2:12 of the first period. He forcing a rebound off the skate of Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller and under Rask’s leg pads. The goal was reviewed after Boston coach Claude Julien used his challenge but the ruling stood.

The unassisted goal marked Doan’s 900th career point, making him the second player in franchise history to reach that milestone.

The Bruins failed to capitalize on their first three power plays of the game, but spent much of the night peppering Coyotes goalie Mike Smith with shots.

Boston outshot Arizona 10-1 at one point in the first period, but Smith was sharp in goal early, turning away several quality Bruins chances. Smith stopped shots from David Pastrnak at 16:48 of the period and Krejci during a power play, finishing with 38 saves.

The Coyotes had chances to add to their lead in the first period but could not convert on their two power plays.

Coyotes center Joe Vitale, involved in some physical play early in the game, was given five minutes for fighting in the second period along with Boston’s Miller. Miller had the better of the scrap with Vitale but the Bruins couldn’t convert on the resulting power play after Oliver Ekman-Larsson was given two minutes for roughing in the skirmish.

Vitale went into the locker room after his time in the penalty box and did not return.

The Bruins finally solved Smith at 8:42 of the second after Smith has stopped two shots by Bergeron and a wrister from Colin Miller. Randell finished a pass from Krejci with a left backhand to tie the score at 1.

Less than a minute later, Rask stretched to stop a shot by Rieder.

Krejci put Boston ahead 2-1 with a power-play goal with 4:41 to go in the second.

NOTES: Marchand returned from a concussion suffered on Oct. 10 against Montreal. … RW Brett Connolly, a healthy scratch, missed his first game of the season . … A good portion of the crowd of 13,411 inside Gila River Arena wore Boston’s black and yellow. It was the Bruins’ only visit to Arizona of the regular season. … Coyotes C Antoine Vermette played after suffering a lower body injury in Thursday’s loss to Minnesota. … LW Jordan Martinook has a lower body injury and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Edmonton’s dream: McDavid rises, each first pick scores as Oilers beat rival Flames

McDavid goal
The Canadian Press via AP

This is the team the Edmonton Oilers have been hoping to show their fans.

After starting the season with a 0-4-0 record everything clicked for them in a 5-2 victory against the Calgary Flames.

Connor McDavid played like the superstar in the making that the Edmonton Oilers hope he is. As part of a strong showing by him, McDavid netted two goals and collected an assist. However, it was the goal he didn’t score that was arguably his most impressive moment of the night:

This game was about more than McDavid though. For the first time, all four of Edmonton’s recent first overall picks (Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, McDavid) found the back of the net in the same game. The eldest of them, Hall, netted the game-winner.

The question now is if this flash of the Oilers’ promise will grow into something more or if it was just a blip in what will otherwise be another painful season. Vancouver is waiting to host the Edmonton tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Calgary has fallen to 1-4-0 despite the optimism that was surrounding this squad after reaching the second round last season and adding defenseman Dougie Hamilton over the summer. The Flames will have to wait until Tuesday against Washington for their next chance to turn things around.

Jackets bore Crawford in Saad’s return to Chicago, descend to 0-6

Anisimov goal

Last season the Columbus Blue Jackets were battered by injuries. This time around they’re just hurting.

In Brandon Saad‘s return to Chicago following a summer trade, the Blue Jackets came up flat in a 4-1 loss to the Blackhawks. That’s the sixth straight game that Columbus has allowed at least four goals, but the Blue Jackets’ offense was certainly a problem tonight too.

After getting through 20 minutes with the game locked in a scoreless tie, Columbus only managed three shots on goal in the second period.

“It felt, uh, boring in the second, a little bit,” goaltender Corey Crawford said of the second period, per’s Brian Hedger.

Curtis McElhinney, making his first start of the season, likely didn’t feel the same. He was bombarded with 15 shots in that frame and surrendered goals to Artem Anisimov and Teuvo Teravainen.

Columbus did at least manage to make Crawford work in the third period and prevent the shutout, but it was too little, too late.

The Blue Jackets are now 0-6-0 and this could get even uglier given their schedule. They’ll face the New York Islanders on Tuesday before starting a stretch where they’ll play seven of eight games on the road.