After a family dinner of potatoes and meatballs on Sunday night, Eric and Jordan Staal of the Hurricanes found out their brother and Rangers defenseman, Marc, still reeling from a puck to the right eye two weeks ago, is expecting to return this season.

“I believe so, as long as things keep going in the right direction,” said Eric, the Carolina captain, before the Rangers’ 2-1 shootout win last night. “He needs them as much as they need him.”

Both Eric and Jordan said Marc’s swelling had gone down a lot and that the scar above his right eye is starting to look less grisly. That was seen when Marc was shown on the big screen midway through the third period, drawing large cheers from fans.

Jordan said “there are still some fractures and stuff to heal,” but “everything looks pretty good.”

Although Marc’s vision is still not 100 percent, both brothers said his spirits have recently been better than immediately after the incident on March 5 against the Flyers, when he took a slap shot from Kimmo Timonen, deflected by Jakub Vorachek, directly in the face.

“I think he was in a lot of pain early on, and rightfully so,” Eric said. “But we had some laughs and we enjoyed being around each other.”

The incident sparked a debate about the necessity of visors in the NHL, as neither Marc nor his two brothers wear them.

“I think he’s going to wear one,” Jordan said about Marc’s return. “I think he’s learned his lesson and he’s going to throw one on.”