RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes talked in the locker room before Monday night's game about how they felt they were due for a win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Columbus had won seven straight in the series, including a dramatic comeback victory the last time the teams met in Raleigh at the end of December.
"We knew we owed 'em one," Eric Staal said. "We wanted to pay them back for some of the good games they played against us."
Staal and his brother, Jordan, helped Carolina make that pregame prediction a reality, combining to score three goals in a 2:47 span in the third period and lifting the Hurricanes to a 3-2 victory.
Jordan Staal scored the tiebreaker with 5:55 remaining after Eric had scored twice to help the Hurricanes erase a two-goal deficit and earn their fourth consecutive victory. Anton Khudobin made 22 saves.
Carolina moved one point ahead of Columbus in the congested Metropolitan Division with the win.
"We knew it was a big game," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. "You don't want to dwell a lot on it — let the guys figure it out."
R.J. Umberger and Derek MacKenzie scored for the Blue Jackets. Columbus lost its second straight after winning eight in a row.
"I don't know if we were trying to hold on or if we were playing the game to win," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "We gave up three goals in less than 3 minutes. For 57 minutes, I thought we managed it pretty well. Those three minutes, that's the game."
After shutting out Carolina in the teams' last meeting, reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves for Columbus.
On the game-winner, Jordan Staal rushed into the zone against defenseman Ryan Murray. After cutting to the middle of the ice, he nudged a backhander past Bobrovsky while fighting off Murray.