Dainius Zubrus was an impact player today in his return from a hand injury. Unfortunately for the Washington Capitals, Zubrus only had one period to make an impact.

He scored the game's first goal in today's 5-4 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena but reinjured his right hand and did not return after the first intermission. Zubrus battled hand problems last season and missed the last two games, unable to grip his stick. He was having a terrific game today, but tangled with Atlanta defenseman Andy Sutton as the period concluded. A scrum ensued, and Zubrus did not return.

General Manager George McPhee said Zubrus aggravated the same injury and called the forward's status day-to-day. Zubrus, who received treatment after the game and was not available to comment, entered the season as Washington's top center after a stellar conclusion to 2001-02.

He started slowly after missing the preseason because of a contract impasse, switched positions several times, was benched for a game and failed to score in his first 18 contests, but had goals in two straight games prior to his initial hand injury and was playing dominant hockey again.

Fortin Hit by Flu, Kolzig Hit by Puck

Defenseman Jean-Francois Fortin was a late scratch because of the flu and was replaced by rookie Steve Eminger. Forwards Glen Metropolit and Colin Forbes were healthy scratches. . . . Goaltender Olaf Kolzig was dazed after taking a blistering slapshot to the face from Dany Heatley in the third period but finished the game. The shot tore the mask from Kolzig's face, and the helmet slid deep to the corner. Kolzig made his 12th straight start. . . . Michael Nylander (two assists) extended his point streak to seven games, with 16 points in that span. . . . Winger Andreas Salomonsson could clear waivers Tuesday and would then be assigned to the minors, McPhee said. . . . Top prospect Nolan Yonkman, who has missed most of this season with an abdominal pull, is set to return to the Portland Pirates' lineup by the weekend. . . . The Capitals are 3-4-2 all-time at Atlanta, a fourth-year franchise.