Andre Burakovsky thrives on Capitals’ top line in Game 6 vs. Penguins

Washington Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky had three goals in 33 career Stanley Cup Playoff games before he was placed on the top line over the weekend.

Now he has six goals.

Burakovsky scored twice in a 5-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at PPG Paints Arena on Monday.

The best-of-7 series is tied 3-3. Game 7 is at Washington on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

“I think everything is coming with confidence,” Burakovsky said. “I mean, during this whole playoff, I think I’ve been creating so many chances, and the only thing I’ve been missing is to maybe hit the net. I’ve been working on it in practice and been watching video, what I can do to find success, and obviously it’s working pretty good for me.”

Prior to Game 5 on Saturday with Washington trailing 3-1 in the series, coach Barry Trotz moved Burakovsky to the first line with T.J. Oshie and . Alex Ovechkin was placed on the third line with jersey and .

The move has paid dividends; Washington’s top line accounted for three even-strength goals in Game 6. Backstrom scored 16 seconds into the third period and Burakovsky scored goals in the first and third. Oshie scored a power-play goal in the first, assisted by Backstrom.

“I think we’re just battling really hard for each other,” Oshie said. “I mean, if someone misses their play, we step up and help each other. I think we’re putting a lot of pucks deep and working hard on the Ds, and that way we’re finding a lot of opportunities and . We had all the keys for success and we just work off each other.”

As the player has gotten increasing attention for making the move to North America, as he continues to star for Russia in the World Championships, as fans get more familiar with who Vegas’ new center is.

The question has been widely asked about his jersey number. Throughout his career, both with the Russian national team and SKA Saint Petersburg, Shipachyov has become known for wearing his signature No. 87.

Which as much as the same number is associated with , as much as No. 8 is associated with Alex Ovechkin or No. 88 with Patrick Kane, No. 87 has been a large part of Shipachyov’s identity.

This has led to many assumptions that Shipachyov will wear the same digits for the Golden Knights this season.

However, in a recent discussion with VegasGoldenKnights.com, general manager said that this topic was not part of Shipachyov’s contract negotiations, nor has it been discussed.

“There’s been no discussion on that,” McPhee said. Frankly, it doesn’t matter to our NHL jerseys what numbers players wear. If the number means something to a player, you can give it to him.

Pittsburgh Penguins Blank Black Pullover NHL HoodieLook at how he got hurt. Whatever you think of what Ovechkin and Niskanen did on that play, Crosby was crashing the net hard.

“I think what separates Sid from most other players is his ability and his willingness to play in the battle areas,” Sullivan said. “He has a blue-collar element to his game, even though he’s an elite player. I think that’s what allows him to have the success that he’s had.

“I’ve said on a number of occasions this year: I think he might be the best player in the world at generating offense from below the goal line and creating separation and making that next play or taking the puck to the net himself. He fills the net on the power play and 5-on-5 from close proximity to the net. He has the stick skills, the ability to protect the puck and make plays in traffic that most players can’t make.”

Crosby has to do this right because it’s right for his long-term health. He has to do this right because he can’t play the way he does unless he’s confident he can take another hit without taking additional risk. When doctors clear him, he can play with Nike soccer jerseys. Then it’s about his comfort level.

In the meantime, all we can do is wait.

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