The diagnosis on Reggie Savage's pulled groin muscle proved to be a bit worse than was expected. The Washington Capitals' 20-year-old right wing, who made his NHL debut Tuesday, will be out two to four weeks.

"Right now, it's good compared to" Thursday, Savage said yesterday morning at Capital Centre, where the Capitals later defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 6-3. "We'll see how it is in two weeks."

Savage's roster spot was filled by Tim Bergland, who is back for another chance. The 26-year-old made his NHL debut last January and played the last 32 games of the regular season and all 15 playoff games.

While his play often was solid, there were not many numbers (two goals, five assists) to show for it. This fall, Bergland was in and out of the lineup, totaling 23 games, with one goal and four assists. He cleared waivers and played the last 15 games in Baltimore. In that time, he had eight goals and nine assists.

Last night, he had an assist on a second-period goal by Nick Kypreos that gave Washington a 3-1 lead.

"Going down, you're not happy but you want to play well," said Bergland, who started last night's game centering a fourth line with Nick Kypreos and John Kordic. "It doesn't do any good to mope around."

Bergland never has had more than 24 goals in a season of college or professional hockey, but he's hoping he can generate a bit more offense. At this stage, the Capitals need it from all hands.

"It's sort of a team thing," Bergland said. "If the team gets rolling, then each individual looks better. I'll try to play the same way I did in Baltimore." 'Timmie' for Poile

General Manager David Poile will be among the recipients of a "Timmie" Award at the Touchdown Club of Washington's awards dinner tonight at the Sheraton Washington hotel. . . .

The Oilers have four goalies with them on this trip, which ended last night. Grant Fuhr, reinstated by the NHL as of Feb. 18 after a five-month suspension for drug use, is practicing and will begin playing in the minors next week. Bill Ranford has missed a couple of games with back spasms. Kari Takko was the starter last night and Eldon "Pokey" Reddick was the backup. . . .

The Oilers' Craig Simpson last night began a three-game suspension for cross-checking Vancouver's Steve Bozek.