The Washington Times - May 6, 2013, 07:03PM

NEW YORK | Marc Staal returned to the New York Rangers for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals on Monday, his first since taking a puck to the face March 5.

Staal, who said recently he was still dealing with blurry vision, replaced Steve Eminger on the Rangers’ blue line. He’s paired with Anton Stralman.

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Staal suffered a right eye injury when he got hit with a puck March 5 against the Philadelphia Flyers. He was not wearing a visor but said he will the rest of his playing career. He missed the past 29 games.

The 26-year-old is New York’s best defenseman, but it’s uncertain how healthy he is. He did not speak to reporters after taking part in an optional morning skate at Madison Square Garden on Monday.

The Caps know what Staal’s presence means for the Rangers.

He plays great shutdown, he’s got a great stick, he makes the right plays, he can chip in offensively,” said Washington defenseman Karl Alzner, who called Staal one of his favorite NHL blue liners. “He did some damage against us last year in the playoffs. I just like his game. Even if he’s 60, 70 percent I think he could really help them out.”

Left win Ryan Clowe (undisclosed) will miss his third game of the series.

The Caps have no lineup changes.

WASHINGTON

Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin

Martin Erat – Mike Ribeiro – Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera – Mathieu Perreault – Eric Fehr

Matt Hendricks – Jay Beagle – Joel Ward

Karl Alzner – Mike Green

John Erskine – John Carlson

Jack Hillen – Steve Oleksy

Braden Holtby

NEW YORK

Carl Hagelin – Brad Richards – Mats Zuccarello

Rick Nash – Derek Stepan – Ryan Callahan

Taylor Pyatt – Derick Brassard – Derek Dorsett

Darroll Powe – Brian Boyle – Arron Asham

Ryan McDonagh – Dan Girardi

Marc Staal – Anton Stralman

John Moore - Michael Del Zotto

Henrik Lundqvist