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Game Analysis: Two Staals No Better Than One

Jordan Staal was back, but it didn't make a difference. The Hurricanes continued to struggle to score at even strenth and fell to the Canadiens, 3-1, Monday at PNC Arena.

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricances got Jordan Staal in the lineup for the first time this season, but the results were no different. Unable to register more than one goal for the 11th time in 12 games, Carolina lost to Montreal, 3-1, Monday at PNC Arena.

Three Observations

1. Eric Staal looked speedy and powerful coming down the wing playing alongside his new center, brother Jordan. The Staals seemed to fit well with both Nathan Gerbe and Elias Lindholm (Lindholm will likely get the nod in the spot in Pittsburgh), and even scored with Jiri Tlusty grouped with them on the power play. The eldest Staal finished with five shots (and nine total shot attempts), which not surprisingly was his most since he last scored (six shots and a goal at Philadelphia).

2. Jeff Skinner received some worthy criticism for his inability to clear the puck late in the first, contributing to Montreal’s second goal. But Skinner was also dangerous in his own right, setting up Riley Nash for a couple golden opportunities and getting a couple chances of his own. Still, the big minus-3 — yes, two were not at all his fault — don't look good in the box score. And, most importantly, all those chances led to exactly zero goals — a prevailing theme this season.

3. The Hurricanes are now a distant last in the Eastern Conference (24 points to Buffalo’s 31) and reside at the forefront of the Connor McDavid/Jack Eichel jackpot-a-thon just 36 games into the season. A 2-7-1 slide has Carolina at 10-22-4, just three points ahead of 7-22-7 Edmonton in the race for last in the NHL. Will Jordan Staal’s return help? Undoubtedly. But no one player (or two: Alexander Semin looks to be close to returning) will erase the team’s core issue: lack of five-on-five scoring.

Number To Know

1 — Number of games it took Jordan Staal to register his first point of the season, an assist on brother Eric's power play goal that wound up being Carolina's only tally of the night. Compare that to fourth liner Brad Malone, who not only has zero points in 26 games this season, but has not been on the ice for a Hurricanes goal this season. No other NHL player has played more than eight games this season and not been on the ice for a goal.


Jordan Staal — It might be gimmicky, but Staal made a difference Monday. He was physical (three hits), strong in the faceoff circle (60 percent) and even had a Grade-A scoring chance (a redirection in front of Carey Price on the power play) to go along with his assist.


Brett Bellemore — Bellemore was undressed on Montreal’s first goal, allowing Jiri Sekac — who just came out of the box after serving a minor penalty — to motor around him on his backhand and get off a perfect shot on Cam Ward. He also had a couple of defensive zone turnovers — he wasn't alone ... I'm looking at you both, Skinner and Gerbe — that added to his off night.