The Rangers are 4-5-1 in 10 games since Marc Staal went down with an eye injury three weeks ago tonight, when struck just above the right eye on a Jakub Voracek deflection of a Kimmo Timonen slap shot against the Flyers.

But Staal’s absence hasn’t been a dagger to the heart as the listing Blueshirts get set to face the Flyers again tonight in the opener of a three-game trip that will also feature stops in Ottawa on Thursday and Montreal on Saturday.

Indeed, the Blueshirts’ goals-against average has actually decreased from 2.39 to 2.16 since Staal — who has yet to skate since suffering the injury and remains sidelined indefinitely — went down in such frightening fashion.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, they have managed to score only 17 goals in those 10 matches, including just nine over the last seven games. And while Mats Zuccarello, who agreed to terms yesterday, should join the team within a week after all the paperwork is complete, no one should expect the 25-year-old Norwegian to be a savior.

In other words, the Blueshirts are going to have to continue to be stingy in order to remain in the playoff hunt, never mind nail down a spot in the top eight.

“We all know what a huge hole it is without Marc Staal, but [the defense] as a group has not been the problem,” coach John Tortorella said following yesterday’s practice at the club’s training facility. “In fact, we’ve cut down on our chances against.

“But as we work on our other problems, we need to stay steady there.”

Tortorella doled out a heaping tablespoon worth of credit to Michael Del Zotto for the dramatic upturn in his game since Staal left the lineup. There were a couple of teaspoons of concern, meanwhile, sprinkled in regarding the flat-line work on the blue line of Anton Stralman.

“Del-Zee, I thought he was terrific [in Sunday’s 3-2 shootout defeat to the Caps],” said the coach. “This is a point where it could be a huge step in Michael’s career if he can stay [at this level of performance].