May 8, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT
It’s crazy to think of how wild Marc Staal‘s season has been. He missed the first half of the season dealing with concussion-like symptoms stemming from a hit from his brother Eric Staal last season. He made his season debut on the big stage of the Winter Classic in Philadelphia and last night he scored the game-winning goal for the Rangers in Game 5.
As ESPN-New York’s Katie Strang hears it from Staal, the long road to recovery has been a fulfilling one for him.
“I’m certainly feeling better and better,” Staal said of his progress since making his long-awaited season debut in the Winter Classic on Jan. 2. “As the year has gone on, I’ve felt better and better. Playoffs are a lot of fun and I’m having fun with it.”
Staal’s minutes have been huge in the postseason. He’s averaging 25:20 in ice time, good for third on the team behind Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi. With two goals and three assists in the playoffs, he’s adding a little scoring punch to his defensive prowess as well. With how low scoring the Rangers are, getting five points from a blue liner makes for a great bonus.
Starting your season at the Winter Classic makes for a late beginning, but Staal would love to close the year out lifting the Stanley Cup. If he keeps playing like this, it might just happen.
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