(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Martin Erat suffered an apparent injury to his left wrist or forearm in the first period Wednesday night that prevented him from finishing Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers.

The veteran winger had been skating stride-for-stride with Rangers’ center Derek Stepan toward the Washington net when Alex Ovechkin launched himself into the two players. Erat’s left arm appeared to be pinned against Stepan as Ovechkin made contact and sent all three players flying. When Erat crashed to the ice he landed on his left wrist and arm without a glove on with 1:34 remaining in the first period.

Coach Adam Oates described Erat’s injury only as “upper body” and said that the 31-year-old would be reevaluated Thursday. The Capitals are scheduled to practice in Arlington at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Erat slid into the net after he landed and remained their writhing in pain until he was attended to by the team’s head athletic trainer, Greg Smith. He was holding his wrist as he made his way down the visitors’ tunnel at Madison Square Garden.

Should the Capitals be without Erat, it’s unclear who would take his place in the lineup. Eric Fehr moved into the left wing spot on the second line for the rest of Game 4 and Joel Ward shifted up to the vacant wing on the third unit, but it’s possible Oates could insert someone other than healthy scratches Aaron Volpatti or Wojtek Wolski.

The AHL’s Hershey Bears were eliminated from the Calder Cup playoffs Thursday night and so options like prospect Tom Wilson, Joey Crabb and others may be joining the Capitals soon.