Eric Staal’s Saturday is over early thanks to lower-body injury

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Eric Staal left Saturday’s Carolina Hurricanes – New York Islanders game and didn’t return because of a lower-body injury.

To state the obvious, it’s a tough blow for the Hurricanes, a team that seemed to be getting a little bit healthier lately.

It’s more problematic for Staal personally, however, as one cannot help but wonder if this is a bad time to get injured. After all, the Canadian Olympic roster announcements are just days away, as the Canadian Press’ Stephen Whyno points out.

The big 29-year-old was heating up lately, too, with five points in his previous two games coming into Saturday’s game. Overall, he’s generated 35 points in 42 games this season (counting tonight’s contest).

The game has an injury and at least one controversial moment, as Matt Martin delivered a questionable hit on Ryan Murphy. (More on that when video becomes available.)

Update: Carolina fans can take heart that the Hurricanes won, at least, beating the Islanders 3-2.