Russian club downs Carolina 5-3, Hurricanes sit Staal to protect him in 3rd

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Maxim Sushinskiy scored twice in the third period as SKA St. Petersburg defeated the visiting Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 in exhibition play Monday.

The loss at the Palace came in Carolina’s final warmup before opening the NHL season Thursday in Helsinki against Minnesota.

The Wild beat Ilves of Tampere 5-1 in Finland earlier Monday.

Not liking the way their captain was being treated, the Hurricanes kept Eric Staal out in the third period but said he was uninjured.

“It seemed like they were getting closer and closer to his knees and there wasn’t a big concern on the ice about it,” Carolina coach Paul Maurice was quoted “He’s a National Hockey League star player and he should be playing in the National Hockey League.”

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Konstatin Panov, Rybin and former NHL star Alexei Yashin also scored for the Russians.

Down 2-0 after the first period, Tuomo Ruutu, Patrick Dwyer and rookie winger Jeff Skinner scored for the Hurricanes in the second to tie the score at 3-3 after 40 minutes.