Seidenberg injury leaves blue line thin

NEW YORK -- The Boston Bruins were without the services of defenseman Dennis Seidenberg for most of Tuesday’s 2-1 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden as Seidenberg suffered a lower-body injury early in the first period.

“Don’t have an update,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the win. “Obviously, it’s a lower-body injury where he couldn’t come back. You don’t get updates at this stage. We’re going to go back home and he’ll be evaluated by our doctors and then see what the situation is.”

Entering Tuesday’s game, Seidenberg had played all 20 games this season. He logged only 1:01 of ice before leaving the game. Julien said he didn’t see how Seidenberg was injured or realize he had left the bench until one of his assistants told him the team was down to five defensemen.

It was the third time this season the Bruins have been forced to play with five defensemen due to injury. On Tuesday, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara logged 31:27 of ice time, while Dougie Hamilton (24:24), Matt Bartkowski (21:13), Johnny Boychuk (23:52) and Torey Krug (15:44) also carried the load lost by Seidenberg.

“It says a lot,” Julien said. “This is not just a game, it’s a back-to-back game with travel, so I thought they did a good job. Zdeno, at the end, was strong and poised and getting pucks out of our own end. There wasn’t much panic and overall, all of those guys, as you know three young players of that group are basically first-year players. We handled it well.”

Seidenberg suffered a hamstring injury during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last spring and missed the first four games of the semifinals against the Rangers.

If Seidenberg can’t play when the Bruins host the St. Louis Blue Thursday at TD Garden, there’s a slight possibility fellow injured defenseman Adam McQuaid could be ready. McQuaid suffered a right-leg injury on Nov. 9 and has missed the last five games. While the team has been on the road, McQuaid has been skating back in Boston.

Julien was iffy when asked if McQuaid could be available on Thursday, saying a possible return this weekend was more likely.