Defenseman Marc Staal, who is struggling with vision problems, is not dressing tonight for Game 5 of the series and could not say when he might rejoin the Rangers lineup.
Staal, who played 17 minutes in Game 3, then pulled himself out of the lineup before Game 4 after a morning skate, said that on the ice that day "it didn't go particularly well... as the day went on I just couldn't see myself getting into a game situation."
After an optional practice at Verizon Center, Staal, who was hit in the right eye with a puck on March 5, said: "I wasn't able to go. I don't want to get into any detail of what happened, but I wasn't able to play...With this thing, kind of the way I've been dealing with it is, wake up in the morning and take it from there...I can't speculate one way or the other."
Staal said it was difficult to be sidelined again after a comeback. "It's tough, you're excited to get in that one and have to watch the next. It's certainly not easy."
He said playing in Game 3 had no effect on his decision prior to Game 4. "Like I said after the game, it went as I thought it would... nine weeks off, a playoff game isn't easy. With what happened in Game 3, and the way I played, didn't stop me from playing in Game 4."
Steve Eminger, who replaced Staal in Game 4, is expected to step in again tonight.