It is all that has happened since that moment that creates an audible pride in Eric Staal's voice.

It was Feb. 22, 2011 when Eric concussed his younger brother, Rangers defenseman Marc. After a long and difficult road back to his All-Star form, Marc put an exclamation point on his return Monday night at the Garden, when he scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Rangers beat the Capitals, 3-2, in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal. It gave the Rangers a 3-2 series lead going into tonight's Game 6 in Washington.

"For me, that's when the really, really good players come out to play," Eric told The Post yesterdayby phone from a golf course in North Carolina. "It's another level, it's amped up, it's totally intense."