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Fun After All These Years

by Matthew Calamia / New York Rangers

Despite facing his brothers dozens of times since entering the NHL at the start of the 2007-08 season, Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said he still has fun every time.

Tonight marks the 23rd time Marc Staal will face Eric, and the 33rd match against Jordan. Jordan previously spent six seasons in Pittsburgh.

"It's not like any game during the regular season," Staal said before facing the Hurricanes and brothers Eric and Jordan tonight at Madison Square Garden. "It's different for me to be able to compete against both of them.

After more than 45 matchups against his brothers, has the excitement decreased? No, according to Marc.

"It's something that doesn't get old," said Staal, who said on Monday that he did not see his brothers during this trip, but that he spent time with them earlier in the season when Carolina visited the Islanders. "It's always exciting to be able to get out there and compete against them, so it should be fun again tonight."

Eric, 31, enters Tuesday's game with four goals and nine points in 14 games, while Jordan, 27, has three goals and three assists in 14 games.

"It's harder [playing against both brothers] becuase they are two behemouth bodies protecting the puck down low," Staal said on Monday. "Usually, you're going against one or the other. Two good players, they compete hard and they like to come into MSG and play well. It's tough. They're good players and they're hot right now."

Since Jordan was traded to the Hurricanes at the 2012 NHL Draft, Marc's Rangers have had the advantage, winning eight of nine contests in which Marc faced at least one brother. The Rangers have had Eric's number for the last handful of seasons, going 16-1 against Carolina dating back to Feb. 22, 201.

That success makes postgame meetings between the brothers a bit better for No. 18.

"It's always nice beating them," Staal said with a smile. "It's going to be no different tonight. To be able to talk to them after a win is always a lot better than after a loss. I'm looking forward to trying to do that again."

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