RALEIGH, N.C. --- Eric Staal is back.
Actually, the Carolina Hurricanes' star never went anywhere, but the level of play that had become his norm took a three-month hiatus to begin this season. But finally, Staal is playing like the All-Star he has been for most of his eight-year NHL career.
That level continued Friday night in the Hurricanes' 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks at the RBC Center. Staal assisted on a goal by Justin Faulk for Carolina's second score of the opening period. And in the last 10 games, Staal has five goals and six assists, clearly his best stretch of hockey this season.
"He's the captain and the leader of our team, so he's been playing great," said second-year star Jeff Skinner. "Even the last couple of months, he wasn't scoring but he was doing the little things right. It's nice to see him get back on track offensively. The whole team has been playing a lot better as of late."
Carolina is 6-1-3 in its last 10 games, with three of the losses coming...