The Washington Capitals are shaking up their roster up front in what will be a crucial Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night. The Eastern Conference finals has basically become a best of three games series, and of course, both teams will want to grab the first victory for the final push.
To improve their chances of winning tonight at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz announced to media members, including NBC Sports Washington's Tarik El-Bashir, that he was changing up the lineup up front for Game 5.
Winger Andre Burakovsky will sit as a healthy scratch in favor of Alex Chiasson, and Trotz explained why the switch was being made. The Caps head coach is hoping the addition of Chiasson in the lineup will provide the Caps with a bit more size and physicality on the wing of the fourth line along with Jay Beagle and Devante Smith-Pelly.
Nicklas Backstrom is expected to resume his natural spot on the Capitals' second line between T.J. Oshie and Chandler Stephenson. Lars Eller was dropped back to the third line after getting sent to the box on several occasions for minor penalties during Game 4.
Burakovsky's been a non-factor as he has yet to record a point in the six playoff contests he has taken part in. The forward has missed the entire second round against the Pittsburgh Penguins as he suffered from an upper-body, and as struggled mightily since returned four games ago from that ailment.
“This is a now business, right now. Talking with staff and looking at his game and all that, this is what we felt was the best lineup for tonight,” Trotz said after the skate. “That doesn’t mean Andre’s not going to be back in or anything. He’s a good young player, missed a lot of time, and not as much impact as we hoped. So we discussed this and felt this was the best lineup moving forward.”
While Chiasson hasn't exactly been much better than Burakovsky, he has been used by coach Trotz much more frequently. Chiasson has managed to register one goal and one assist across 15 games this postseason.
With the series tied 2-2, and the crucial Game 5 will take place tonight in Tampa.