RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Jordan Staal may be just what the Carolina Hurricanes needed to avoid running away with last place in the NHL's Eastern Conference.
Staal, whose brother Eric is the team captain, scored his first goal of the season to get things started, and the Hurricanes eventually held off the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in a shootout on Tuesday night.
Carolina is 4-3-1 since the alternate captain returned to the ice after suffering a broken leg in a preseason game. It is 4-1-1 over its last six.
''It was a really good start,'' said Hurricanes coach Bill Peters, who celebrated his 50th birthday with the win. ''I was happy with it for sure. It would have been nice to get a few more in the first, but that wasn't the case. I didn't think we held onto our success as well as we should have.
''It was important for Jordan to get that first, but he's had good looks every night. His line was dominant early.''
Victor Rask and Elias Lindholm scored the shootout goals for Carolina, while Anton Khudobin - who has won three straight and finished with 28 saves - stoned both Colorado shots in the shootout.
Patrick Dwyer scored the other goal for the Hurricanes, who have won five straight home games against the Avalanche with one in overtime and the other in the shootout.
Matt Duchene and John Mitchell scored third period goals for the Avalanche.
Colorado won the teams' only other meeting this season at home with a 4-3 comeback on Nov. 22.
Calvin Pickard stopped 44 shots for Colorado, which was coming off a 2-1 loss at Washington on Monday night that broke a three-game winning streak.
''(Pickard) was phenomenal, especially in the third period, but he was good all night long,'' said Colorado coach Patrick Roy.
''Don't forget we played last night in Washington. I'm not looking for excuses, but they were here waiting for us,'' he said. ''They were ready and they were skating well. They seemed to be very fresh and sometimes it makes a big difference.''
Carolina has not allowed a power-play goal in a franchise-record 11 games. Each team was penalized just once during the game.
Jordan Staal got Carolina on the board at 14:05 of the first period, receiving Ryan Murphy's give-and-go pass back into the slot and beating Pickard stick side.
''You want to start like that every time,'' Jordan Staal said. ''Obviously they're going to be a team that's going to push back, and they did.
''It's nice to get the goose egg out of the way. It's been happening for few games - I've had some good chances.''
Dwyer made it 2-0 at 6:03 of the second, beating Pickard on an assist from Brad Malone with Jay McClement on the screen. Malone was playing his first home game against his former team since signing with the Hurricanes on July 1. McClement has also spent time with Colorado.
Duchene cut the lead in half for Colorado when he scored his 12th goal of the season at 25 seconds of the third with Jarome Iginla on the primary assist.
Mitchell tied it at 10:05 with a slap shot from the right wing on a rush.
''I just wanted to be consistent with my game,'' Khudobin said. ''I knew they were coming and were not going to give up for sure. Maybe I was too energetic for the game. After their goals, I settled down.''
NOTES - Colorado's next game is on Thursday night at Florida, while Carolina has a home game Friday night against Vancouver. ... It was Carolina D Justin Faulk's first home contest since being selected for the NHL All-Star Game. ... The Hurricanes' 20 shots in the first period made for the first 20-shot frame since a 3-2 win at Winnipeg last March 22. The franchise record for shots in a period was 32 on March 15, 1984, when, as the Hartford Whalers, they beat Toronto 5-3. ... LW Chris Terry and D Brett Bellemore were healthy scratches for the Hurricanes. ... C Borna Rendulic and D Zach Redmond were healthy scratches for the Avalanche.