Staal sets single-season franchise goal mark as Wild rout Hurricanes, 6-2

Sarah McLellan, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Hockey

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Much of the focus at this point of the schedule is on the Wild's pursuit of the playoffs.

But there's another race worth keeping tabs on in the waning weeks of the season: center Eric Staal's bid for most goals in the NHL.

After potting two more to help the Wild roll by the Hurricanes, 6-2, Tuesday in front of 19,017 at Xcel Energy Center, Staal sits tied for fourth in the league with 36.

Only the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (40), Jets' Patrik Laine (38) and Penguins' Evgeni Malkin (37) have buried more pucks.

Staal's offensive outburst continued a torrid stretch for the 33-year-old.

Since the calendar flipped to February, Staal has scored 16 times in 17 games. His 36 total tallies are his most since he recorded 40 in 2008-09, and 36 is the third-most in a single season for a Wild player in team history.

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Staal's on pace for 44, which is only a goal shy of his career high of 45 set in 2005-06 when he was 21. And in 17 of the last 22 games, he's managed at least a point; his 17 goals and 30 points rank second in the NHL in that span.

Overall, he's also at a point-per-game clip with 67 through 67.

Like he did last game, Staal secured the Wild's first goal with a wrist shot on the power play 4 minutes, 35 seconds into the first period.

The Hurricanes hung around the rest of the period, but the Wild took over the game in the second amid the fastest four goals in franchise history in just 3:28.


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