The Washington Capitals' uphill playoff push took a hit Tuesday when the team learned defenseman Calle Johansson will be out six weeks after suffering a sprained left knee in Monday's 1-1 tie against the New York Rangers.
Johansson, 32, had been the only Capital to appear in all 67 games this season, collecting eight goals and 21 assists. He leads Washington defenseman in assists and points and is fourth on the team in scoring.
On March 4, the 5-11, 203-pound Swede appeared in his 727th game as a Capital, moving past Rod Langway for most games played by a Washington defenseman.
Johansson was placed on injured reserve today and the Caps recalled defenseman Steve Poapst from Portland of the AHL, where he had three goals and 21 assists in 54 games. Poapst, 30, has appeared in seven games with Washington this season, registering two penalty minutes.
Washington is 12th in the Eastern Conference with 60 points, eight behind Boston for the final playoff spot. Beset by injuries, the Capitals have struggled after reaching the Stanley Cup Finals last spring for the first time in team history.
In another move, the Capitals assigned center Jan Bulis, who is tied for ninth on the team in scoring, to Cincinnati of the IHL.
"We feel that sending Jan to the IHL is the best move for his development as a hockey player," general manager George McPhee said. "We are hoping that he will gain additional experience and confidence necessary to achieve the level of play we feel he is capable of."
Bulis, who turns 21 on Thursday, has seven goals and 16 assists in only 38 games. Despite missing 28 games with a severely sprained ankle, the native of the Czech Republic is tied for second on the team with three game-winning goals.
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