The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without the services of defenseman Matt Niskanen for the next while, according to head coach Dan Bylsma.
Bylsma said Niskanen will be out 2-4 weeks with an ankle injury sustained during Sunday’s shootout victory over Ottawa. The 26-year-old slid skates-first into the boards late in the first period and didn’t return to the contest, forcing Pittsburgh to play with five defensemen.
On Tuesday, Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Niskanen was wearing an orthopedic boot on his right foot.
The loss is a significant one for the Penguins blueline. Niskanen had been averaging over 20 minutes a night to start the year and tallied points in three of his first four games, ranking second on the team in defenseman scoring.
It’s expected that Robert Bortuzzo or Simon Despres will replace him in the lineup.
This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.
Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.
While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.
There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.
Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.
Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:
It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.