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Pittsburgh’s Niskanen out 2-4 weeks (ankle)

Jan 29, 2013, 6:01 PM EST

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Matt Niskanen Getty Images

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.

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