- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 27, 2017

Capitals coach Barry Trotz didn’t even wait for the question about Karl Alzner’s health to be asked.

“Same lineup as Game 6 against Toronto,” Trotz said. “There’s your one question.”

Alzner (upper body) is out Thursday in Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins as the Capitals defenseman is set to miss his fifth straight game. 

Trotz said Alzner is still “day-to-day and progressing,” but added Alzner needed medical clearance before he returns to game action.

“Yeah, we’re not going to put him at risk,” Trotz said. 

Alzner, though, has participated in practice since Friday. He has had more of a workload each practice and has taken contact drills. 

“I feel good. I’m progressing,” Alzner said Tuesday.

Alzer played the first two games in Round 1 against Toronto, but has been out with an upper body injury since. The Capitals replaced Alzner in the lineup with defenseman Nate Schmidt, who has created the desired impact on the defense. 

“Schmidty has played unbelievable,” Alzner said. “You can really see what he brings to the table when he’s on the ice with speed and creating the way he does. The PK did good. And yeah, there’s no complaints.

“It’s hard watching games, and you feel really bad about it, but the team played awesome and didn’t give me too much to worry about.”

When Alzner returns remains unclear. 

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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