Capitals defenseman Justin Schultz did not travel with the team to New York, according to head coach Peter Laviolette. That means he will miss at least the next two games as the Caps will play the Islanders on Long Island Thursday (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington) and Saturday.
Schultz left Sunday's game against the Boston Bruins with a lower-body injury and has not been on the ice for practice since then. There is no timetable yet for his return.
Trevor van Riemsdyk will slot into Schultz's spot on the right side of the second defensive pair alongside Brenden Dillon.
"Certainly we'll miss Justin, Justin's been a big part of it and we've had a stable six for a long time here," Laviolette said. "We've kind of stayed with those guys and through it all, TVR has been outstanding with his attitude and his work ethic, been a terrific teammate. He's an NHL defenseman waiting to play and he went about his business on a daily basis preparing himself for when the opportunity did come."
Chara did not play in Sunday's game allowing van Riemsdyk to get into the lineup for the first time since March 16. Laviolette spoke glowingly of his performance.
"He made good reads, he was physical, good decisions, good defensively and I thought he played a pretty sharp game under the circumstances so it's good that he gets to continue to build off of that," Laviolette said.
Chara will be back in the lineup at his normal spot on the left of the third defensive pair with Nick Jensen as his partner.
In addition, Michael Raffl will make his Capitals debut Thursday. He was acquired at the trade deadline, but an injury has prevented him from suiting up. He will play on the third line with Daniel Sprong coming out.
"Just a different type of player," Laviolette said of Raffl. "I feel like he's a veteran player, he plays a heavy game, brings some experience, pretty good checker and want to get him in and see what he can do. He's' now available so I'll take a look at him."