Hurricanes fall to Rangers 4-3 in home finale

calexander@newsobserver.comApril 25, 2013 

— The storyline for the Carolina Hurricanes was Jared Staal making his NHL debut Thursday, joining brothers Eric Staal and Jordan Staal in the Canes' lineup.

Canes coach Kirk Muller further obliged the home fans in the final home game at PNC Arena by putting the three Staals in the starting lineup, and on the same line. That earned a big ovation.

Not that any of that was a distraction to the New York Rangers, the visitors in the building. The Rangers won 4-3 in overtime on Ryan Callhan's blistering shot, to nail down a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Perhaps the only one in New York blue interested in Jared Staal playing or the Staals playing together was Marc Staal. The Rangers defenseman would have liked to have joined his brothers in the game, but still is recovering from an eye injury and had to watch from the press level.

"It was even more than I thought it would be, a lot of fun," Jared Staal said. "I didn't feel that out of place. I had a blast."

The Rangers (25-18-4) were scoreboard watching and needed two points Thursday to clinch a playoff berth. But Callahan's winner at two minutes, 55 seconds of overtime had the Rangers hopping over the boards to celebrate around goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

The Rangers forced overtime on a fluky power-play goal with less than three minutes to play in regulation. Brad Richards' shot was wide of the net but the puck took a lively bounce off the end boards, glanced off the right skate of Canes goalie Dan Ellis and into the net for a 3-3 tie.

The Canes were playing without forward Alexander Semin, ruled out of the final two games with a concussion. Defenseman Joe Corvo was a late scratch because of an upper-body injury, leaving Carolina with 17 skaters, and defenseman Jay Harrison took a puck in the face in the second period and left the game bleeding.

"We stuck with them," Ellis said. "That's a team that's going to the playoffs and will make a good push. We've got some banged up bodies and are missing some guys but we really worked hard.

"Tonight, they got a bounce off the boards to tie it up, just one of those freak bounces. And (Callahan) just sneaks it under the bar. I was just off my angle and it was just off my jersey. But we competed hard as a team."

Staal, recalled Wednesday from the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, had 17 shifts and more than 12 minutes of ice time, and was shifted to the wing on Jordan Staal's line as Eric Staal centered the top line. He was used in overtime and got off a long shot that Lundqvist easily stopped.

"It was a hard-fought game," Jared Staal said. "The guys were pretty pumped up before the game and the crowd was great and loud. This team may not have much to play for and it could just finish out the season, but we all battled hard."

Jiri Tlusty, pushing his point streak to seven games, had two goals for the Hurricanes (19-24-4), who fell behind 2-0 after the opening period but tied the score 2-2 in the second on a power-play goal by Tlusty and even-strength score by Tuomo Ruutu.

Ruutu ripped a shot past Lundqvist from the right circle. Tlusty then gave the Canes a 3-2 lead in the first minute of third, finishing off a two-on-one rush with Eric Staal for his 23rd goal of the season.

Ellis turned back Derek Stepan, who had scored for New York in the first, on a breakaway a few minutes later. Ellis later got a piece of the puck as Rick Nash powered to the net.

But a tripping penalty against Ruutu -- a borderline call that angered Muller and Canes fans in the crowd of 17,172 -- led to Richards' power-play goal.

"A call at the end changed the game at the end," Muller said. "That is tough."

Ellis, making his third straight start, had a lot of work and made 34 saves as the Canes were outshot 38-21. Stepan and Derick Brassard had even-strength goals in the first for New York -- Stepan as a trailer on the rush and Brassard on a rebound.

While the Canes lost, it was an history-making night for the Staals. They're only the fourth trio of brothers to play for the same team in an NHL game, and the first since Peter, Anton and Marian Stastny for the Quebec Nordiques in the 1980s.

The Staals' parents, Henry and Linda, were at the game. Asked if he ever believed he would one day see three sons playing for the same NHL team, Henry smiled and said, "Not in a million years."

NOTES: Canes defenseman Justin Faulk was named the team's most valuable player for the season in voting by the Carolina chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Forward Patrick Dwyer won the Josef Vasicek Award for cooperation with the local media. …

Defenseman Tim Gleason was voted by his teammates as the 2013 winner of the Steve Chiasson Award, which honors the late Canes defenseman.

See the box score from the game

Alexander: 919-829-8945 Twitter: @ice_chip

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service