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BREAKING: Washington Capitals down a player for game 4.

One of their top defensemen is out.

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BREAKING: Washington Capitals down a player for game 4.

The Washington Capitals are facing the ultimate nightmare scenario against the Toronto Maple Leafs heading into game 4 of their first round series, and they’ll have to confront it without one of their top defensemen.

Caps head coach Barry Trotz announced this morning that blue liner Karl Alzner will miss his second consecutive game as his team looks to even up their series against the surprisingly hot Toronto Maple Leafs. The steady, stay-at-home Alzner has been a staple of the Caps blue line for nearly a decade and has recently settled into a good pairing with the more offensively talented John Carlson. The 28 year-old Alzner has put up 28 points in 82 games this season and regularly sees north of 20 minutes time on ice per game. With Alzner out of the lineup last game, Trotz dressed Nate Schmidt, who performed admirably but simply didn’t give the Caps the stability that Alzner provides.

There’s no timetable for Alzner’s return, but with his team down 2-1 and facing a first round exit to the underdog Leafs, it’s expected that he’ll be rushed into action as soon as he’s capable.