Derek Stepan of the New York Rangers celebrates his third-period...

Derek Stepan of the New York Rangers celebrates his third-period shorthanded goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden on Monday, Feb. 29, 201 6. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Maybe some Rangers felt safe, having survived the annual trade deadline. Maybe they needed more of a shakeup to wake up in Eric Staal’s debut on Broadway.

The Rangers, who were 9-2-1 coming into Monday night’s game, spun their wheels against the Blue Jackets, who are next-to-last in the Eastern Conference, during most of Staal’s first game since being acquired in a trade with Carolina on Sunday.

But the Rangers pulled out a 2-1 squeaker at the Garden on Derek Stepan’s shorthanded breakaway goal with 2:48 remaining in the third period for their third straight win. It was only their second shorthanded goal of the season, both by Stepan.

The game came this close to overtime. Jackets winger Cam Atkinson, who scored on a breakaway to tie it at 1-1 at 3:46 of the third period, almost tied the score at the final buzzer, but the green light had gone on.

Brandon Dubinsky tried a wraparound, which Antti Raanta stopped, and Atkinson had two whacks. “He hit me first with the pad, then again in the pad, and then I saw the puck go in and I thought, ‘This can’t be real,’ ” said Raanta (26 saves), “and then the ref was waving it off.’’

The man of the hour, center Eric Staal, started between Oscar Lindberg and Kevin Hayes and played 15:43, with one shot, one miss and one hit. He won nine of 17 faceoffs. His best scoring opportunity came on a one-timer from the right circle that was swallowed up by Joonas Korpisalo with 3:18 left in the second period.

The 31-year-old admitted feeling butterflies. “But they were good butterflies,” he said. “Twelve years [in Carolina] is a long time. It was a little different, but it felt real good, to be honest. It was fun to get here with this group, who welcomed me with open arms, and I’m just excited to get comfortable and go.”

With 4:41 left in regulation and the score tied at 1, Marc Staal — Eric’s younger brother — tripped Matt Calvert, giving the Blue Jackets their first power play. But after Ryan McDonagh forced a turnover by Dubinsky, Stepan grabbed the puck and deked Korpisalo with eight seconds left on the man-advantage.

“Great play by Mac,” Stepan said. “I’m able to jump up and it’s just me and the goaltender. Originally, I was going to shoot it, but I looked up and decided to take my chances trying to beat him to the back pipe.”

For 40 minutes, it wasn’t very positive offensively for the Rangers. They had only 13 shots on goal, but Raanta, subbing for Henrik Lundqvist, stopped all 21 shots he faced.

“We were pretty sluggish for most of the game, and a little sloppy with the puck,” Marc Staal said.

Raanta, whose most recent start had been a 4-2 victory in Toronto on Feb. 18 in which he made 35 saves, kept it scoreless for more than two periods, preserving the 1-0 lead forged when Mats Zuccarello came out from behind the net and banked a shot off Korpisalo with 2:19 left in the first period.

“I was trying to keep that feeling,’’ Raanta said. “Just tried to make it simple: quick feet, be square all the time. It worked pretty good.”

For Marc Staal, there was only relief that the first game in which he and Eric had played together was over. Said Marc, “Let’s put it this way: I enjoyed it a lot more than I do when I play against him.”

More Rangers