|Carolina Hurricanes - Staal brothers start vs. New York Rangers - PKS Consulting LLC|
The Carolina Hurricanes host the New York Rangers at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. on Thursday.
It isthe third and final game of a three-game series between the teams this season.
The Hurricanes fell to the Rangers 2-1 in a shootout on Mar. 18 at Madison Square Garden, but seek to continue their current two-game win streak in front of their fans to end the season on as high a note as possible considering they will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
The story of the night is that Jared Staal, younger brother of captain Eric and assistant captain Jordan, will start in his first career NHL game after being recalled from Carolina's AHL affiliate club, the Charlotte Checkers.
All three Staals are part of the starting lineup with Justin Faulk and Tim Gleason backing them up with Dan Ellis starting in net.
Commentary for each period will follow on the hour.
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Before the puck drops:
It all started fine with all three Staal brothers - Eric, Jordan, and Jared - starting the game for the Hurricanes.
They became a part of NHL history in doing so, and everyone in attendance felt good as the puck finally hit the ice to begin the last home game of the season in Raleigh.
For Carolina, the opportunity to complicate things for the Rangers who need to win to clinch a playoff spot, would be motivation enough in addition to extending their recent modest two-game win streak.
However, the Rangers were all business throughout the period as they outshot and outscored the Hurricanes, leading 2-0 as both teams went to their dressing rooms.
Derek Stepan opened the game's scoring at 3:19 with a top-shelf shot that beat Carolina goaltender Dan Ellis.
The Hurricanes had their share of opportunities to score on Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist, but he was well-positioned to turn each one away, including during Carolina's lone power play of the period.
Derick Brassard extended the Rangers' lead as he cleaned up a rebound from a scramble in front of Ellis with 4:08 left in the period.
End of Period: New York 2, Carolina 0
Even while being outshot 15-4, Carolina managed to capitalize on their opportunities as Jiri Tlusty and Tuomo Ruutu both beat Lundqvist to tie the game by the end of the middle 20 minutes of play.
While on their second power play of the game, Marc-Andre Bergeron found Tlusty in the slot who then slid the puck to Skinner in the corner and shifted to Lundqvist's right.
Skinner made a tape-to-tape return pass to Tlusty who then scored his 22nd goal of the season at the 4:51 mark.
Exactly three minutes later, Hurricanes grinder Kevin Westgarth worked along the right boards in the neutral zone and pushed the puck forward to Ruutu.
The Finnish forward then crossed the Rangers blue line with Jordan Staal breaking alongside him in the slot.
Using Staal as a decoy, Ruutu's shot handcuffed Lundqvist and found the top corner over the Ranger netminder's stickside shoulder to tie the game 2-2 at 7:51.
The Rangers dominated much of the remainder of the period, but Ellis managed to keep his team in the game with help from his defensemen.
The best chance that New York had to retake the lead was a sequence of play that had captain Ryan Callahan and Derek Stepan take separate shots on goal that were denied by Ellis along with the help of defensemen Bergeron and Jamie McBain.
End of Period: Carolina 2, New York 2
Carolina comes out fast and furious as after an errant pass hits Tlusty's skate in the Hurricanes end, he breaks out with a pass to Eric Staal.
Skating into the Rangers on a two-on-one, Staal gained the zone with Tlusty and fed him with a cross-slot pass, leaving the Czech sniper alone to face Lundqvsist.
Tlusty tucked the puck above the Rangers goalie's glove hand and put Carolina ahead 3-2, just 49 seconds into the period.
Ellis truly took over as he made save after save to keep the Hurricanes ahead for much of the remainder of regulation time.
However, with Ruutu penalized for tripping with under five minutes to play, a point shot from Brad Richards missed the net, but hit the end boards and ended up in Ellis' crease.
As Ellis moved to find it, the puck entered the net and the score was tied 3-3 with 2:57 to play.
New York continued to apply pressure in the Carolina zone, but the Hurricanes turned away each attempt as the period ended to send the game into overtime.
End of Period: Carolina 3, New York 3
After peppering Lundqvist with shots, the Hurricanes couldn't defend Ryan Callahan and his shot from the wing beat Ellis up high.
Rangers won and clinched a playoff spot.
Final: New York 4, Carolina 3
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