- The Washington Times - Monday, January 5, 2015

Matt Niskanen was held out of practice on Monday with an unspecified lower-body injury and is being considered day-to-day, Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz said.

Niskanen did not miss a shift in the Capitals‘ 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers on Sunday and played 24 shifts for a total of 22 minutes, 3 seconds. The defenseman has played in all 38 games for Washington this season, his first after signing him to a seven-year, $40.25 million contract in July.

The Capitals will not practice Tuesday, then will depart later in the day for games at Toronto on Wednesday and at Philadelphia on Thursday.

“He’ll be day-to-day and we’ll see where he is [on Tuesday],” Trotz said. “He’s going to come out and give it a whirl, sort of like Brooks [Orpik], but I think it should be fine. Right now, he’s day-to-day.”

Orpik, who injured his right knee in the Capitals‘ overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Dec. 29, was held out of practice the following two days but was healthy enough during warm-ups on Jan. 1 to play in the victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Winter Classic.

If Niskanen is unable to play, it would mark the first time this season the Capitals have endured a shake-up among their top four defensemen. The team has played just seven defensemen, the fewest in the NHL, as it approaches the midpoint of the season in two weeks.

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