Center Paul Gardner was recalled from Binghamton yesterday and will debut with the Capitals tonight against the Calgary Flames at Capital Centre.

Gardner, signed as a free agent during the summer, had nine goals and seven assists in 10 games with the Whalers.

One of the reasons for his recall, other than his fine play, was that center Bengt Gustafsson has been ruled out of any action in November. If Gustafsson plays before Christmas, it will be a welcome present both to the oft-injured player and the hockey club.

The latest injury, to his right hamstring, is so severe that team physician Carl MacCartee has prescribed a lengthy rest before Gustafsson can even think of skating.

He was hurt during the Canada Cup, aggravated the injury Oct. 14 in Chicago and was hurt again in Calgary Thursday, when the Flames' Steve Konroyd flattened him from behind. The pain was so severe Gustafsson limped off the ice and lay face down on the bench.

"It's a lot worse than a pull," said General Manager David Poile. "It's so badly bruised, it's a bluish color. The initial prognosis is a very severe pull and, since this is the third time, we're going to be very cautious before giving him the green light to come back and play.

"We don't want it to be a chronic injury. Right now the doctor says six to eight weeks, but maybe after a month we'll take another look."

Goaltender Al Jensen practiced yesterday and the tendon injury in his knee seemed healed. However, Bob Mason will remain with the team at least until Thursday. Defenseman Timo Blomqvist, who twisted his ankle Sunday in Vancouver, is expected to play tonight.