Matt Niskanen suffered an upper-body injury in the first period Wednesday night and did not return. The team says the veteran defenseman will be reevaluated on Thursday morning.

“I don’t have a real good update,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “Obviously, he took that hit. For precautionary reasons we kept him out. He’s going to be reevaluated in the morning and we’ll make a decision and maybe an announcement on where he is. He took a big hit. He’s an important piece for us.”

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Niskanen was hit from behind by Bruins center Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of the Caps’ 4-3 overtime win. At first, the team said Niskanen was probable to return to the game. Then, prior to the start of the third period, he was ruled out.

It marked the second time in five games that Niskanen could not finish a game due to injury. In Toronto, he left after 40 minutes because of a lower body ailment.

Trotz said a decision to recall a player from Hershey could be made as soon as Thursday morning since the team is set to travel to Buffalo for a game against the Sabres on Friday night.

“We’ll see where we are in the morning because we are a capped [out] team,” Trotz said. “That will impact what we have to do going forward, or maybe it’s not impacted at all.”


Asked what he thought about Bergeron’s hit, Trotz declined to give his opinion.

“I don’t have an opinion on it,” he said. “It was a hard hit. [Niskanen] went face-first into the boards. I’m sure the league looks at all the hits, so we’ll see if they think it was a dirty hit or not.”

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