Defenseman Matt Niskanen, who suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night, will not travel with the Washington Capitals to Buffalo for Friday’s game. It will be the first game he’s missed since signing with Washington before the 2014-15 season.

Niskanen was hit into the boards by Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period and did not return to the game. On Thursday, the team announced that Niskanen was day-to-day.

“I don’t really have a real good update,” Coach Barry Trotz said after Wednesday’s game. “Obviously, he took that hit. For precautionary reasons, we kept him out. … He took a big hit. He’s an important piece for us.”

With Niskanen out, expect the Capitals to recall a defenseman Thursday afternoon. According to, the Capitals have $821,587 in cap space, enough for them to recall any defenseman from their American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey. Defenseman Taylor Chorney is expected to play over any call-up, though, as he has played well in the four games he’s been in the lineup.

Niskanen, who has nine assists, is an all-situations defenseman who has averaged 22:39 playing a shutdown role at even strength with additional penalty-kill and power-play responsibilities. He was recently paired with Dmitry Orlov on defense, but once he was knocked out of the game, Orlov skated mostly with Brooks Orpik, a possible pairing for Friday night.

Here’s a guess at what the defensive pairs might be Friday night without Niskanen:

Karl Alzner-John Carlson
Brooks Orpik-Dmitry Orlov
Nate Schmidt-Taylor Chorney