Eric Staal made his New York Rangers debut alongside brother Marc on Monday night, but they needed a shorthanded goal from Derek Stepan to secure a 2-1 win over Columbus.
The Rangers acquired Eric Staal ahead of the deadline from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for two second-round draft picks and prospect Aleksi Saarela, but he was a peripheral figure as his new side struggled to assert themselves at Madison Square Garden.
“It’s been a lot of fun coming here and joining this group,” Staal told the media after the game. “It’s a great group of guys that made me feel real welcome right off the bat. It feels nice to get the win.”
Elsewhere, Tampa Bay Lightning have now won seven in a row but they were made to work for it by a stubborn Toronto group.
It was Tyler Johnson who symbolised Tampa’s toughness of late, as he recovered from suffering an 11-stitch cut over his left eye the previous night to score both Lightning goals in the 2-1 win.
Patrick Hornqvist was in virtuouso form as he helped himself to his first ever NHL hat-trick as the Pittsburgh Penguins found some offense against Arizona. Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang and Matt Cullen were the other goalscorers in the comprehensive 6-0 win.
San Jose, meanwhile, vindicated their decision to not add to their roster before the trade deadline by powering past Montreal to record a 6-2 win, wiith Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns each scoring three points.
The lamps were lit plenty at Wells Fargo Centre too, where Brayden Schenn’s Flyers hat-trick was the highlight in Philadelphia’s 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames.
In the night’s other game, an overtime power play winner from Pavel Datsyuk saw the Detroit Red Wings win a tightly fought contest with the Dallas Stars 3-2.