Niskanen suffered the injury late in the second period, and he played a shift in the third period before going back to the locker room for the rest of the game.Washington doesn’t play again until Thursday against the New York Islanders.
With Niskanen not at practice Monday, his typical defense partner, Karl Alzner, skated with Nate Schmidt, and Brooks Orpik and Taylor Chorney were a pair. The duo of John Carlson and Dmitry Orlov was unchanged.
Since Niskanen signed with the Capitals two seasons ago, he has played in every game. He and Alzner are the team’s shutdown defensive pair, tasked with the most challenging assignments. Niskanen has averaged the second-most ice time (22:46) on the team this season, playing on the top penalty-kill unit and recently promoted to the first power play. Through 21 games, Niskanen has nine assists this season.
“I think he’s got one of the best sticks,” Trotz said. “I think he just comes to work. He’s low-maintenance. He’s a real pro. He gets it. He keeps it real. There’s no arrogance in his game. It’s business; it’s detail. He’s a pleasure to work with.”