1. This morning, we noted that, “[i]f the hockey world didn’t know who Andre Burakovsky was before last night, they sure do now.” Let’s elaborate.
Per Corsica, Burakovsky currently leads all skaters in the playoffs who have played more than 50 minutes at five-on-five in score- and venue-adjusted Corsi-For percentage (66.2) and Corsi-For per 60 (86.0), and the Caps have outscored opponents 8-3 with Burakovsky on the ice at fives. In the current series, that CF% spikes to 71.4, the pace to 95.6 and the goal differential to 5-0 (three of which he himself has scored, and another on which he had the primary assist). In other words...
Andre Burakovsky is feeeeeeeling it right now https://t.co/WMxsa5Tkqr— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) May 9, 2017
Burakovsky has back-to-back multi-point efforts and as many goals in his last two games (three) as in his first 33 career playoff games. Yowza.
And he’s making his coach look pretty good...
Barry Trotz looks like a genius dropping Ovechkin to 3rd line, moving up Burakovsky to 1st line with Backstrom.= 2 straight wins, GM 7 Wed.— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) May 9, 2017
Barry Trotz infused Andre Burakovsky with confidence by moving him to the top line. He's a bloody genius. https://t.co/WFx5r6eqZP— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) May 9, 2017
My tip of the cap today goes to Barry Trotz HC @Capitals for his strength to go against NHL coaching standard 101 that if we lose we (cont)— Brian Lawton (@brianlawton9) May 9, 2017
we will lose with our best players playing most. The reduction of #8's TOI was 5th highest amongst forwards. For the betterment of the club.— Brian Lawton (@brianlawton9) May 9, 2017
2. As for the other piece of that line juggling - Alex Ovechkin - he’s also responded well to the change. His minutes may be down, but he’s still creating offense:
Team-highs in shot attempts and scoring chances and so on... playing alongside Lars Eller and Tom Wilson.
As important, Ovechkin is focused on what matters:
Alex Ovechkin could have quit when he was dropped to the third line. He didn’t. https://t.co/o0HoEszJj1— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) May 9, 2017
Trotz on moving Ovi to 3rd line: "When you get in the playoffs, you want to do what’s good for the group. He’s good with it. He’s all in."— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) May 9, 2017
"It sends a big message to the group. He's worrying about everybody else first. He just wants to win with that group."— Tommy Chalk (@Tommy_Chalk) May 9, 2017
Trotz on Ovi: 'All he wants to do is what's best' for the team. #Caps— JJ Regan (@JJReganCSN) May 9, 2017
"That's a strong message a captain can make to his teammates."— Tommy Chalk (@Tommy_Chalk) May 9, 2017
We’ve heard a lot about Ovechkin and “buy-in” under Trotz, and if this switch-up in lines results in a Caps’ comeback win in this series, you can bet you’ll be hearing even more about how Alex Ovechkin now cares more about winning than his individual stats... as if that has ever not been the case.
3. Bah Gawd! That’s Justin Williams’ music!
Mr. Game 7 Justin Williams will play his first Game 7 with #Caps in 2nd season in Washington. He has 7 goals, 7 assists, is 7-0 in Game 7s.— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) May 9, 2017