BOSTON - Four key defensemen missed Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Rangers and Bruins, and some could be back before it ends.
Rangers blueliner Marc Staal has been out the longest, playing just one game since March 5, when a puck struck him in the right eye against the Flyers.
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Staal who skated in an optional practice at TD Garden Friday, played 17 minutes in Game 3 against the Washington Capitals, then suffered a setback, pulled himself out of the lineup for Game 4 and hasn't dressed for a game since.
Staal, who still has blurry vision and some difficulties in depth perception, has no timetable. He was not available to the media Friday but has described himself as day-to-day.
For the Bruins, who didn't skate yesterday, Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden are sidelined, but Bruins coach Claude Julien did not rule out the chance of one or more playing in Game 2 Sunday.
"A little early to say," Julien said. "Again, it is two days [off], and two days in the playoffs makes a big difference as far as getting guys back. There's a possibility, that much I can say."
Both teams have full practices scheduled for Saturday.
Blue notesThe Rangers have been outshot 32-11 in their three overtime losses in the playoffs . . . Twenty of the last 25 games between the Bruins and Rangers have been decided by a goal . . . Derick Brassard is the first Ranger since Wayne Gretzky in 1997 to have a six-game point streak in the playoffs. Gretzky's streak went nine games . . . The span of 40 years since these two teams last played in the postseason is the longest in NHL history . . . Besides the scratches and spares, Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello were the only regular skaters in the optional skate. The goaltenders were Martin Biron and Hartford's Cam Talbot.