For the second time in three weeks, Washington goaltender Mike Palmateer has undergone minor surgery to remove loose cartilage from his right knee.

The latest arthroscopy, performed Monday in Toronto by Dr. Robert Jackson, will leave Palmateer on crutches for 10 days and out of action for as long as two months.

"Given proper rest now, this operation should add considerably to the longevity of the knee as far as his hockey career is concerned," said General Manager Roger Crozier.

Palmateer, who has not played since Nov. 28, apparently suffered a severe bruise during training camp in September, but the damage did not become apparent for almost six weeks. An arthroscopy on Nov. 30 removed some of the pieces of cartilage and the rest were flushed out this time. Palmateer will be reexamined Jan. 4, when the team will get a better indication of his future status.

Dave Parro, as usual, will be in the Washington net tonight when the Boston Bruins make their only Capital Centre appearance of the season at 7:30. Parro, who spent two years in the Bruins' farm system without receiving a shot in the NHL, played brilliantly in New York Sunday, when the Capitals ended a four-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Rangers.

Lou Franceschetti, who scored the game-winning goal as an emergency replacement for flu-ridden Bengt Gustafsson, once again will skate at left wing on a line with Ryan Walter at center and Mike Gartner at right wing. Gartner returns today after spending two days in Toronto, where his father underwent open-heart surgery.

Other line pairings have Dennis Maruk centering Gaetan Duchesne and Chris Valentine, and Bobby Carpenter working with Gustafsson and Bobby Gould.

"Having Duchesne with Maruk and Gould with Carpenter gives us two guys who are conscious of the defensive game with two offense-oriented guys, and gives us a better distribution of the workload," said Coach Bryan Murray.

The extra forwards are likely to be Torrie Robertson and Wes Jarvis, who played key roles in the victory in New York. Robertson, with a goal and an assist, was honored as one of the three stars and further cemented a permanent berth. As a spot performer in nine games since he was recalled from Hershey Nov. 30, Robertson has produced five goals while posting a plus-three rating.

"Torrie is willing to mix it up and we intend to keep him around," Murray said. "He'll be in the lineup a lot of nights. He's a tough kid and we want him to take the body, to be aggressive and to rebut any instigators on the other team."

Robertson was not reluctant to mix it up in Saturday's physical battle with Chicago and he was automatically ejected for receiving three major penalties, after two fights with Keith Brown and another with Tim Higgins.

During a lengthy scrimmage at yesterday's practice, Robertson repeatedly banged teammates into the boards and he and defenseman Timo Blomqvist engaged in a prolonged post-whistle shoving match while Robertson was blocking the net in a power-play drill.

"You practice like you play," Robertson said. "If you hit in a game, you hit in practice. I've played that way most of my life and I have to keep at it to make up for some of the things I don't do well. I have to work on my skating and sometimes I have problems handling the puck. Sometimes it feel like I'm wearing boxing gloves when I'm trying to stickhandle."

Robertson, at 19, made the team a year ago as a fourth-line winger, following an excellent training camp. However, he was returned to his junior team at Victoria so that he could play regularly and hone his skills. This season, when he was expected to earn a spot in Washington, he had a poor camp, and started out in Hershey. Called up briefly to provide muscle in two games against Philadelphia, he did not receive a real opportunity until three weeks ago, after Franceschetti drew a blank in his first visit.

"I was disappointed when I went back last year, but it was a good thing," Robertson said. "I scored 45 goals and got 66 assists and built up my confidence.

"I didn't play that well at camp this year and I didn't deserve a spot. Maybe I just wasn't quite sure of the pro style. I'm not sure where I stand yet, but I'm just going to work hard every game and hope I stick."

Tonight, Robertson will renew acquaintances with Barry Pederson, his center as Victoria reached the Memorial Cup final last season. Pederson already has 17 goals for the Bruins.