Capitals' Poti to have surgery on eye

Updated: April 27, 2010, 10:12 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Defenseman Tom Poti will have to undergo surgery on an injured eye after he was hit with a puck Monday and will miss Game 7 of the Washington Capitals' first-round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens.

Poti
Poti

"It's a pretty significant injury," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said Tuesday, "so he's definitely out for tomorrow's game."

Poti was hit with a puck late in the second period of Game 6 and flew home with the team after the game. Boudreau said Poti wasn't likely to be available in the second round if the Capitals win Wednesday night in Washington.

"It could be two to three weeks. It could be longer," Boudreau said.

Left without Poti, a veteran with a team-best plus-9 rating in this series, the Capitals recalled defenseman Karl Alzner from Hershey of the American Hockey League.

"Yeah, you never want to see anybody get hit in the face, especially in the eye. I guess they're going for surgery today and we all wish them the best," said teammate Mike Green.

Washington will likely turn to Alzner, their top defensive prospect, to assume some of Poti's ice time. Alzner had five assists in 21 regular-season games with the Capitals this season.

"Tom Poti has been great. You lose one of your best experienced players. It's a tough thing, but look, this is the playoffs and you lose players. People come in and it's a chance to be a hero. That's what hockey is all about. It's a battle of attrition after a while when you play a team seven times," Boudreau said.

Poti was hurt in Montreal's 4-1 home victory over Washington in Game 6. He is tied for the team lead with four assists this postseason, and he and rookie John Carlson have formed Washington's top defensive pairing against the Canadiens.

"You always feel bad for a freak accident like that. He's one of our top defensemen and it's going to hurt," Carlson said.

"I think that we've got some good chemistry together over the past few games but that's playoff hockey and that stuff happens every year it seems like with injuries, people are banged up. It's just the nature of the game. Hopefully he can come back as soon as possible," the rookie defenseman said.

Boudreau also said he has decided on a goalie for Game 7, but he wouldn't announce a starter. It is expected he will stay with Semyon Varlamov, who replaced Jose Theodore in the first period of Game 2 and has started every game since.

ESPN.com's Scott Burnside and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ALSO SEE