Washington Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky will be reevaluated Monday after suffering an upper body injury that knocked him out of a 5-4 overtime loss to the Blue Jackets in Game 2 on Sunday night.
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 hole. Washington Coach Barry Trotz did not specify if Burakovsky would be ready for Game 3 in Columbus on Tuesday night, but his potential 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 Game 1 early after being checked into the boards by Josh Anderson of Columbus. Kempny was in the lineup Sunday night.
With Burakovsky out, rookie Chandler Stephenson was promoted Sunday night 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 healthy scratch before Game 2 and was replaced by Jay Beagle.
Nonetheless, Burakovsky’s early exit on Sunday dampens what had been a strong month for the 23-year-old Austrian. Burakovsky scored three goals with three assists in his final eight games of the regular season.
More Capitals coverage:
After sitting Game 1, YouTube sensation turned NHL player will get his chance against the Capitals
‘I just don’t understand’: After Game 1, frustrated Jeremy Roenick sounded like every Caps fan
The Capitals and Blue Jackets are already bloody. There could be more to come.