NEW YORK -- Following his team's 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series, Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates revealed that wing Martin Erat was dealing with an upper-body injury and would be reevaluated on Thursday prior to Game 5 on Friday in Washington.
With Stepan rushing towards the net, both Ovechkin and Erat initiated contact on Stepan. Ovechkin and Erat were both assessed two-minute minors on the play, with Jason Chimera serving Erat's hooking minor.
Erat lost his left glove in the collision and appeared to slam his left arm hard onto the ice before sliding into the Capitals' net, where he laid in obvious discomfort for several moments. The Czech veteran, who was acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline from the Nashville Predators, was evaluated following the collision and did not return.
In a strange twist, Erat's absence actually managed to indirectly benefit the Capitals. With Eric Fehr taking Erat's place on the Capitals' second line alongside Mike Ribeiro and Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward was promoted to the third line. His trio featuring Mathieu Perreault and Chimera accounted for two of Washington's three goals and Ward finished the game with two assists.
Coming into Game 4, Erat had registered no points and three shots in the opening three games of the series.