Eric Staal (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
Eric Staal hadn’t shown up on the score sheet in any of his first three games as a New York Ranger, but he found the back of the net for the first time as a Blueshirt Sunday in a wild opening period.
Three games into his stay with the New York Rangers, Eric Staal still looked as though he was trying to get acclimated to playing for only the second team of his career. But in his third game as a Blueshirt, Staal finally gave New York some of the scoring punch they had hoped he would bring.
Staal’s first two points as a Ranger came in a wild first period between the two New York clubs. After the Islanders jumped out to a 3-0 lead, Staal picked up his first point in a Rangers jersey when he notched the lone assist on Oscar Lindberg’s goal midway through the first. The Blueshirts had brought the score to 4-2 when, with little more than six minutes remaining in the opening period, Staal was driving the net, deflected a puck, collected his own rebound and smacked home his first as a Ranger:
Staal’s first few games of his stay in New York have likely been a big adjustment for him. After averaging more than 19 minutes of ice time per game in Carolina, Staal hadn’t eclipsed the 16-minute mark in any of his first contests as a Ranger. However, Staal seemed to be gaining the confidence of coach Alain Vigneault in Sunday’s game against the Islanders. Through two periods, he had played close to 11 minutes, and finished the contest with nearly 19 minutes of ice time.
With his two points on the game, Staal now has 11 goals and 35 points on the year. Even still, though, this is likely to be Staal’s worst offensive season since his rookie year when he scored a mere 11 goals and 31 points in 81 games.
Staal entered Sunday’s game on pace for only 42 points. If that keeps up, it will be the first season since his rookie campaign that Staal has failed to eclipse 50 points.