It was a few hours before Game 4 and each shared their tales of woe.
Boston's Stuart (cellulitis infection on his finger) and Philadelphia's Gagne (broken toe on his right foot), both game-time decisions, were in the lineup at Wachovia Center Friday night,. Boston, who leads the best-of-seven second-round series 3-0, are looking to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 1992.
"At first it was tough," said Stuart, who one of the Bruins' go-to defensemen before he had surgery April 4 to treat his infected pinkie. "Then you have to roll with it. You understand you have to do the treatment. Killing the infection is No. 1."
Stuart was initially only supposed to miss two weeks, but the infection wasn't cleared up through the normal course of IV and oral antibiotics after surgery. A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) was inserted so doctors could more easily deliver antibiotics, a device that required Stuart to avoid any strenuous activity. It was supposed to be left in until June.
"I thought I was done," Stuart said.
About a week ago, however, Stuart had the PICC removed in favor of an IV port in his arm that allowed him to go back on the ice.
"He's feeling much better," Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
The other is whether to tap Trent Whitfield or Brad Marchand to replace center Davis Krejci, who was lost for the season with a wrist injury in Game 3. Bruins also are without winger Marco Sturm for the duration of the playoffs after he tore two ligaments in his knee in Game 1.
Unlike Stuart, Gagne didn't partake in the Friday's skate.
"I'm going to have to talk to the trainer after warm-ups," Gagne said. "It's up to me to get ready and see how I feel."
Gagne broke his toe in Game 4 of the first-round series against the New Jersey Devils on April 20 and had surgery to insert two screws. He practiced on Thursday and had an MRI afterward, the results of which he said were promising.
Gagne has had company as fellow forwards Jeff Carter (broken toe) and Ian Laperriere (brain contusion) have also been out of action. If Gagne does make it back, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said he hopes for more than just a quick morale boost.
"When a player returns, there's got to be more than a bang you get in the first minute," he said. "There is much work that has to be done throughout the course of the game. It's important to remember they are contributing factors."