- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Washington Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky was placed on injured reserve  after undergoing surgery on his fractured left thumb, which will keep him out six to eight weeks.

Burakovsky was hurt near the end of the Capitals‘ 4-1 loss Saturday against the Florida Panthers. After Florida was given a penalty for a hooking Burakovsky, the 23-year-old forward took off his glove and started flexing his hand, in apparent pain.

The Capitals announced the update Tuesday, but Burakovsky was placed retroactively on injured reserve as of Saturday.

In a corresponding move, Washington recalled prospect Chandler Stephenson from Hershey, the team’s American Hockey League affiliate.

The Capitals have a three-game trip in Western Canada, starting Thursday with the Vancouver Canucks.

The injury is the latest blow to Burakovsky, who’s had a slow start to the season. After the departure of Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams, Burakovsky was promoted to a top-six role and began the season on a line with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie.

But Burakovsky, who signed a one-year, $3 million contract in the offseason, admitted last week he was thinking too much about his lack of production.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz moved Burakovsky to the team’s third line with Lars Eller and Alex Chiasson. The move provided a spark, and Burakovsky scored his first goal of the season Friday at Detroit.

Last year, Burakovsky missed 15 games with a right hand injury. Through nine games, the forward has four points (one goal, three assists).

The Capitals are already without defenseman Matt Niskanen, who is on long-term injured reserve with an upper body, and fourth-line forward Tyler Graovac (upper body).

Chandler, who appeared in four games last season, was promoted to help maintain the Capitals‘ depth.

Without Burakovsky, Trotz adjusted his lines in practice, with forward Jakub Vrana shifting to the Capitals‘ third line, while Chiasson moved up to Vrana’s spot on the team’s line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

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