TORONTO – This is what the Carolina Hurricanes had in mind when they acquired Jordan Staal from Pittsburgh at the NHL draft.
Staal scored his first goal with the Hurricanes and added an assist as Carolina dumped Toronto 4-1 Monday.
With older brother Eric centring Carolina’s top line, Jordan Staal was brought in to add scoring depth to the second line.
His goal tied the game at one after the Leafs seemingly forgot that Staal was right in front of the net, and he had plenty of time to beat Toronto goalie James Reimer before enthusiastically pumping both arms.
“It was nice to get a goal to get us going,” he said. “As a Hurricane it was nice to get that first one and hopefully many more after that.”
Having been outplayed by Toronto in the first period, the goal capped off a flurry of chances for Carolina, which had dominated the second period but gone unrewarded.
“It was big,” said Eric Staal, who later added eventual game-winning goal.
“We knew that it was going to come in time. It was nice for (Jordan) to get that first one out of the way and continue to play his game.”
From there the Hurricanes found their game and put away the Leafs with Eric Staal getting the winner at 10:21 when his cross-ice pass was deflected in.
Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller said that in previous seasons teams would focus on shutting down Staal and the top line as the key to beating Carolina.
Now that the younger Staal is on the roster teams have something else to worry about.
“Bringing Jordan in gives us a different dimension,” Muller said. “With Jordan really there’s good chemistry with Jeff Skinner and Patrick Dwyer, a good defensive guy on that line. It gives us two lines that can hurt you if you’re playing a strong game and there’s nothing like having big centres down the middle and those two big boys can log that ice time.”