Washington Capitals center Alan Haworth was examined yesterday and no damage was found in his right knee, which buckled Friday against Toronto and has been a constant problem since it was first injured Dec. 28.

Haworth was fitted with a new brace, because the one he had used was shifting position and making him vulnerable to a hit. He will not play tonight at Capital Centre against the Los Angeles Kings, but Friday's game against Pittsburgh is a possibility. Haworth originally had expected to miss most or all of the rest of the season because of the injury.

"The doctor said Howie can play as early as he feels comfortable," said Capitals Coach Bryan Murray. "It's at a point where he's going to have to handle the mental part of it. Although there is no risk of aggravating the injury, apparently there will be pain."

The Capitals are hoping that center Michal Pivonka can play tonight. Pivonka skated yesterday, but he experienced some soreness in his right Achilles' tendon when he tried to skate at full speed, so he may be given a few more days to recover from the strained ankle ligaments he suffered in Boston March 7.

Goalie Bob Mason experienced a few pains of a different sort yesterday. Mason slept through practice and will be fined an unspecified amount. However, Murray said Mason "probably" would start tonight, as scheduled, despite his absence.

"We've always tried to be fairly realistic with the guys," Murray said. "There will be a financial penalty and we'll consider the matter closed."

"The power went off in my house," Mason said. "I woke up with the alarm flashing and I had an uneasy feeling. It turned out it was 11:30."

Practice began at 10:30.

It will be a homecoming of sorts at Capital Centre tonight when the Kings bring goalie Al Jensen, center Bob Carpenter and right wing Bryan Erickson back to meet their former team.

Jensen, traded to Los Angeles for Garry Galley on Feb. 14, is expected to be in the Kings' goal tonight. It would mark Jensen's first Capital Centre appearance of the season, the absence of home games being a sore point with Jensen when he was demoted to Binghamton of the American Hockey League twice by the Capitals.

It has been an unhappy season for Jensen, whose overall statistics read 2-5-1 and 5.20. However, a victory tonight no doubt would make him feel better.

Carpenter, who spent 28 games with the Rangers before being traded a second time, would need more than one good game to restore his confidence. Over 51 games with three teams, Carpenter has seven goals, 16 assists and a minus-21 rating.

Erickson has been considerably more productive, with 17 goals and 29 assists. He was traded to the Kings on Halloween 1985 in exchange for the departed Bruce Shoebottom.

The Kings also feature left wing Luc Robitaille, whose 37 goals make him a leading candidate for rookie of the year honors in the NHL, and another outstanding first-year man, center Jimmy Carson, second among the Kings with 28 goals.

Washington defenseman Scott Stevens, a member of the first all-rookie team in 1983, received another honor yesterday when he was selected as the NHL player of the week. In three games last week, Stevens had two goals and seven assists.

Stevens, who tied a club record with four assists against Toronto Friday, was the third Capital named in the last two months, following Mason and right wing Mike Gartner.

"It's always great to get something like that," Stevens said. "I feel pretty confident right now, handling the puck and stuff like that. I'm in good shape and this is a good time of year to start excelling, moving toward the playoffs. The points are coming in bunches."

Stevens and partner Larry Murphy, a former King, have had some problems regarding giveaways in the past, but both have been sound on defense in recent weeks.

"I find we don't give the puck away any more," Stevens said. "We keep it as much as we can and make something out of it, moving it up to the forwards, making a quality play. It all seems to be coming together for us."

Murray, sometimes critical of Stevens for impatience in the past, had nothing but good things to say yesterday.

"I thought Scott was terrific Saturday {in St. Louis}," Murray said. "He was strong with and without the puck, he was staying back and he was passing the puck better.

"At the crunch time he's become a solid team player, not gambling as he was before. He has so much talent when he stays under control. He's a heck of a player."

Canadiens 3, Islanders 0:

Last night in Montreal, goaltender Brian Hayward had his first shutout in four seasons as the Canadiens beat New York. Hayward stopped 23 shots. Gaston Gingras, Ryan Walter and Claude Lemieux scored for Montreal.