Rasks late goal, Lack elevate Hurricanes past former captain Staal and the Wild

Eric Staal plays old team for the first time with Minnesota, but cant solve Hurricanes goalie

James Guillory—USA TODAY Sports
Hurricanes goalie Eddie Lack goes down to stop the puck whiledefensemen Brett Pesce battles with Wild centerEric Staal during Carolina's 3-1 winThursday at PNC Arena.

RALEIGH — Derek Ryan received his first NHL call-up one day after Eric Staal was sent to the Rangers at last season’s trade deadline. Victor Rask got a good chunk of the money left behind when Staal moved on to Minnesota in the offseason.On Staal’s first return to Raleigh in a Wild sweater, it was Rask’s late goal and Ryan’s early power play tally providing all the scoring the Hurricanes would need, and Eddie Lack personally assured Staal wouldn’t leave his old building a hero in a 3-1 win over Minnesota on Thursday at PNC Arena.After Rask scored on a power move to the goal mouth with 3:24 left to push Carolina ahead, Lack stopped a sequence of three shots — the first by Staal — to keep the Hurricanes ahead. It was one of six saves Lack made on Staal, but none was better than the one he made at the midway point of the first period. Lack stoned Staal on a wide-open attempt, relying on the book he had on the former Carolina captain from when they played together last season to knock the chance away with his blocker.”I was actually talking talking with Joakim [Nordstrom] before the game too, and I’m like, ‘If Eric is coming down he’s going high blocker for sure,'” Lack said. “So I was a little bit prepared for it. It was a good save and it got me going.”Lack kept going, making 31 stops en route to his second win in three starts. Lack has allowed just four combined goals in those starts with a .951 save percentage.”It was a slugfest there through 20, not a lot going on,” Peters said of the game. “And then it got good and then they pushed real hard and Eddie made some big saves. He made the sequence of three saves there about the four-minute mark. … So he was big tonight.”Carolina (29-27-12) got an early power play opportunity and converted. Noah Hanifin’s shot from the left circle couldn’t be handled by Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, and Ryan knifed the rebound in for a 1-0 lead 4:37 into the game.”A little garbage goal there for sure,” Ryan said of his power play goal. “We were just talking about getting pucks and bodies to the net against pretty much everyone we’re playing, and even more so when you’re playing against a 6-foot-3 or however tall [6-foot-6 Dubnyk] is goalie.”The Hurricanes looked to extend their lead with a second power play in the first, but instead Minnesota (43-20-6) tied it. After a Carolina turnover, Finns Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund broke in 2 on 2 against Lee Stempniak and Hanifin. The Minnesota duo changed lanes, with Hanifin losing track of Granlund after Koivu fed him the puck. Granlund’s nifty move beat Lack to tie the game with 7:25 left in the first. “I wasn’t very happy about the way that unfolded at all. Not at all,” Peters said, turning a bit angry about the play. “It’s a privilege to be on the power play and you have to outwork the penalty killers. … You’ve got an extra guy, so just don’t think you can go out there and coast and it’s a two-minute holiday, that’s what that was.”The teams didn’t score in the second, and the game — which Peters deemed “a dogfight” — favored the Wild in third period, as they fired 17 shots on Lack.”I thought they really got heavy and hard in the third. I thought they played really well,” Peters said.But Carolina got the go-ahead goal from Rask and added a Teuvo Teravainen empty-net goal with 1:26 left to seal it. Minnesota pulled Dubynk again, and Staal and his teammates applied lpressure but couldn’t get another goal. Carolina improved to 3-0-2 in their last five games, holding on to some sliver of playoff hope.”I don’t know if we don’t have anything to play for,” Ryan said. “Obviously we’re not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and I think that any time you’re playing in the NHL you have a lot to play for. “I think we’re just trying to keep that mindset and also the mindset that you never know. If we really string together some wins here, you never know what can happen.”Notes: Lucas Wallmark, playing his third NHL game, was 8 for 12 on faceoffs and praised by Peters following the game. He also took his first NHL penalty, the only one Carolina took on the night to Minnesota’s four. … Jeff Skinner had a scare when it looked like he suffered a skate cut to his left leg, but after a quick trip to the dressing room he returned. … Staal finished with six shots for the Wild, a game high. … Elias Lindholm earned his 29th assist on Rask’s game-winner, setting a new career-high mark.