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Canes 4, Ducks 2

RALEIGH — Hurricanes star center Eric Staal had a hat trick, but it almost wasn't enough.

Carolina held on for a 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks after three quick penalties put the Hurricanes down two men for an extended period in the closing minutes of the game.

Corvo, whose roughing penalty was the first of those penalties at the 16:59 mark in the third period, scored an empty netter with 4.7 seconds left.

A milestone day for the Hurricanes

It's already shaping up as a pretty big day for the Hurricanes.

Cam Ward's wife, Cody, gave birth to a son, Nolan Kennedy, at 6:33 a.m. That's big news.

"It drops our age a little bit as a team," Canes coach Paul Maurice quipped today.

Then there's Eric Staal. The Canes captain will be playing his 500th career game tonight against the Washington Capitals. That's a milestone.

Finally, the Canes again have a new face in the room.

Canes face demanding week

Washington, at Boston, at Washington. That's a big week for any hockey team and it's the one the Canes face this week.

"It's all depends on how you divide the league up," Canes coach Paul Maurice said today. "We're probably 4-1-1 against teams that people would expect when you come into a game you'd beat them. We're 5-8 probably against teams ahead of us in the standings.

"I don't mind that. This is going to be a physically demanding week with the styles of games we're going to have to play to be successful. But I think we're equipped. We're far better equipped to handle this stretch now than we were at the start of the year. There has been improvement in our game."

Hockey Fights Cancer meaningful to Staal

The Canes' game tonight against the Islanders will be its annual "Hockey Fights Cancer Night" affair, with nine local non-profit cancer organizations being recognized during the game.

Hockey Fights Cancer is a joint initiative of the NHL and NHL Players Association to raise funds and awareness of the work of local cancer research organizations. It also resonates with such players as Canes captain Eric Staal, who lost his sister-in-law to cancer this year.

"Cancer affects everybody in this world in some way or another," Staal said today. "If we can do our part to try and help cure that disease, it's got to help all mankind.

"Obviously, for me personally, it has been close to my family in the last few years. Having lost someone to the disease, it gives you more awareness on the fight against cancer. I'm glad the Hurricanes and the NHL are a part of this to try and help fight cancer."

Tamara Stephenson, Staal's sister-in-law, battled cancer for a few years before dying in early January in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She was 26.


'Good vibe' Canes go back on road

The Canes put in one last practice today before hitting the road, again. They aren't due to take the ice at the RBC Center again until Monday, Oct. 25.

"It's a tough trip ahead but we're excited," captain Eric Staal said today. "I think we feel pretty comfortable with the guys in the room. We've gotten along, we've had some good practices, some good skates."

"We have a lot of positive feelings moving forward. We've got good energy and a good vibe."

Staal healthy, ready, excited about season

The captain is back.

Eric Staal is healthy. He says he's a little leaner. He says he's ready to get back on the ice, ready to lead the Canes by example.

While much has changed for the Canes, Staal is a constant. He's the player everyone will look to for the big goals, for the big plays. He's a player many believe belongs among the NHL's elite, but also a player going into this season with a little something to prove.

"I'm like everybody else on this team, making sure we're pushing forward and getting better every day," Staal said today at the RecZone.

What the Wild's depth at center means for the Canes

I got a fair amount of email about my contention Sunday that if the Hurricanes traded up to draft Tyler Seguin, it would give them a 1-2-3 punch at center "as strong as" any in the NHL.

"What about Pittsburgh?" the emails argued. Well, yeah, the Penguins are better. But what about the other 28 teams in the NHL? That's a better question.

Staal: All-Star Game a 'great stage'

Having played in NHL All-Star Games, having been the MVP in one, the Canes' Eric Staal knows a lot about the event and all that goes in it.

So what about having the 2011 All-Star Game in Raleigh, on the Canes' home ice, the RBC Center?

"It's a great stage. I think it's going to be awesome for our fans and for this whole community," Staal said today, about an hour before an official announcement by commissioner Gary Bettman.

Jokinen, Staal win writers' awards

Jussi Jokinen was named Hurricanes MVP and Eric Staal won the Good Guy Award for media cooperation in voting by the Carolina chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Peters, Legace splitting weekend duties in goal

Canes coach Paul Maurice said today that Justin Peters would start in goal Saturday against the Florida Panthers, with Manny Legace in net Sunday in Atlanta against the Thrashers.

The Canes' seven-game winning streak has come with goaltender Cam Ward sidelined with a back injury. Legace picked up his fourth win in the streak Thursday as Carolina topped Ottawa 4-1.

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