RALEIGH, N.C. -- Eric Staal wasn't about to let his little brother lose this one.
Staal had a goal and two assists as the Carolina Hurricanes topped the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-1, on Thursday night at PNC Arena, giving Jordan Staal a victory over his former team.
Jiri Tlusty scored twice and had an assist, and Jeff Skinner also had a goal his first game back after being sidelined by a concussion. Cam Ward also was strong in net for the Canes (10-8-1), denying Sidney Crosby a goal late with a nifty pad save.
It was a special, emotional night for Jordan Staal, facing the team he helped win a Stanley Cup. After six seasons with the Pens, Staal was traded to Carolina in June in a deal that sent Brandon Sutter to Pittsburgh.
Jordan Staal didn't have a point this night but again was a physical presence on the ice. In an interesting twist, Staal and Sutter went head-to-head for the opening faceoff of the game, which Staal won.
The Canes had lost four of their past five and were shut out 3-0 Tuesday by the Washington Capitals. But Carolina got a big boost when four players who had been out because of injuries -- Skinner and center Tim Brent, and defensemen Tim Gleason and Jamie McBain -- were able to return for the Pens.
Almost back to full strength, the Canes were more effective in all three zones. Cam Ward again did his job in net and Carolina's penalty killers muzzled a powerful Pens' power play.
It helped the Canes that Pens center Evgeni Malkin remains out of the lineup with a concussion. But the Canes' top line of Eric Staal, Tlusty and Alexander Semin couldn't be contained, outplaying Sidney Crosby's line. Semin had two assists as the line combined for eight points.
Eric Staal scored in the final seconds of the first period for a 1-1 tie, then set up Tlusty with 10 seconds left in the second -- finishing off a three-goal period.
Chris Kunitz gave the Pens (13-8-0) a 1-0 lead in the first off a crisp pass from Crosby.
In the second, the Canes first killed off a penalty, then dodged a bullet when Sutter rang the post from the right wing.
Tlusty scored his first of the night with 15:57 left in the second period after Eric Staal attempted a wraparound, then poked the puck loose from Pen's goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Jeff Skinner followed with 14:11 left off a Pat Dwyer feed, then the top line converted again with just seconds left in a period.
Tlusty took a pass in the low slot from Semin and ripped a shot past Fleury with 10.1 second left.
The Pens struck for their first-period goal soon after the Canes had killed off a Jay Harrison roughing penalty. Crosby, from the left circle, made a nice pass to Kunitz in the right circle, Kunitz rifling a one-timer high and past Ward with 6:46 left in the first.
In the final minute of the first, Tlusty won a battle in the corner and Eric Staal got off a pass from the end boards. Semin fired a shot from the top of left circle and Staal, who had gone to the front of the net, got the tip past Fleury for his 10th goal of the season.
(c)2013 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
Visit The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) at www.newsobserver.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services