The Edmonton Oilers might have won the game and moved into a share of first place in the NHL's Northwest Division on Wednesday night, but the victory might have cost them center Doug Weight.
Weight assisted on defenseman Boris Mironov's goal in the first period that helped the Oilers rout the Washington Capitals 8-2. It was his fifth assist in four games since ending a contract holdout.
But later in the period, Weight, who had signed a two-year, $7.8-million contract, left the ice after injuring his right knee.
An emotional weight, on crutches, later told reporters he'll be gone for a good while.
"I know it's serious," Weight said. "It's nothing I've come across (before) ... I've never had surgery. But I knew something was wrong."
Weight appeared to have been hurt in a collision with Washington defenseman Mark Tinordi against the boards in the Capitals' end. Weight showed some frustration after the hit.
"The puck was on the wall," said Weight. "Tinordi took a run at Billy (Guerin). I was going to jump in."
Said Guerin: "It was kind of a harmless play."
Guerin, Weight's linemate, didn't hide his disappointment.
| Bob Essensa makes one of his 22 saves in the Oilers' victory. (AP) |
"When a guy Doug's caliber goes down, you're not going to replace him with one guy," said the Oilers' right wing.
Guerin set the tone following Weight's injury, scoring two goals and adding two assists as the Oilers routed the Capitals.
Boris Mironov also scored twice and Kelly Buchberger, Mike Grier, Josef Beranek and Roman Hamrlik added single goals.
Guerin has a league-leading six power-play goals and a five-game goal-scoring streak.
Adam Oates and Joe Juneau scored for Washington (3-3-2).
The Oilers now are 4-4-0 after winning three times in a five-game road trip.
"A lot of guys have matured a little bit," said Low. "And I'm thankful we've got Beranek."
The veteran Beranek has two goals and seven points in six games.
Buchberger, Grier and Mironov gave the Oilers a 3-0 lead 14:23 into the game.
Beranek made it 4-1 at 1:48 of the second, chasing starting goalie Olaf Kolzig, who came into the game with a 1.32 goals-against average. He left with a 1.87 GAA.
Backup Rick Tabaracci could fare no better.
Guerin scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season on power plays in the third period.
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