San Jose Sharks eye first 3-game win streak of season

Jan 23, 2024, 3:50 AM | Updated: 9:45 am

Kevin Fiala #22 of the Los Angeles Kings is stopped by Kaapo Kahkonen #36 of the San Jose Sharks du...

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 22: Kevin Fiala #22 of the Los Angeles Kings is stopped by Kaapo Kahkonen #36 of the San Jose Sharks during the first period at Arena on January 22, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers will try to gain a split of their four-game western road trip on Tuesday night when they visit the team with the fewest points in the NHL, the San Jose Sharks.

New York, which holds a four-point lead over the second-place Philadelphia Flyers in the Metropolitan Division, had a bumpy start to the trip. They absorbed a 5-1 loss to the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday and a 2-1 setback to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

However, the Rangers, despite trailing 2-0 after the first period on Sunday at Anaheim, scored four goals in the final 10 minutes to pull out a 5-2 victory over the Ducks and snap a five-game road losing streak.

Chris Kreider had a goal and two assists, Adam Fox added two assists and Vincent Trocheck, Will Cuylle, Artemi Panarin and Jimmy Vesey also scored for the Rangers, who won for just the third time in nine games (3-5-1).

The turning point in the game occurred early in the third period when Mason McTavish put in a rebound of a Frank Vatrano shot, apparently giving the Ducks a 3-1 lead. However, the Rangers were successful on a coach’s challenge that the play was offside, keeping it a one-goal game.

Cuylle, arguably the best player on the ice, tied it 2-2 when he deflected a Jacob Trouba point shot at 10:10. Panarin then scored a power-play goal on a sharp-angled one-timer from the bottom of the left circle off a Fox pass to make it 3-2 with 5:37 to go, and Kreider batted in his own mid-air rebound with 3:53 left. Vesey sealed the comeback win with an empty-netter.

For a team that had managed just two goals in the first 170 minutes of the trip, there was plenty of reason for the Rangers to exhale afterward.

“It’s one of those games, one of those periods, when you have to find a way to reset,” New York center Mika Zibanejad said. “Try to battle back and not feel sorry for yourself. That’s something that the whole team, the whole group, did a good job of in just staying with it.

“Just a gutsy effort. With the last few games and the results of the last few weeks … I think it was the perfect way to get the win. To come back from 2-0 down to win the game and hopefully gain some momentum and keep going.”

Fox added, “We definitely could have laid down there in the third being down. Obviously got fortunate with that offsides call there. The breaks really hadn’t been going our way, it seems, and that was one that went our way. I thought we battled hard all game, and obviously in the third period.”

New York finishes the trip against a San Jose team that is guided by former Rangers coach David Quinn (2018-19 to 2020-21) and will be trying for its first three-game winning streak of the season.

The Sharks defeated the visiting Ducks 5-3 on Saturday, then won 4-3 in a shootout at Los Angeles on Monday. Fabian Zetterlund scored in the first period against the Kings, then clinched the shootout with a goal. San Jose captain Logan Couture, in his second game back after missing the first 45 games of the season with a groin injury, also scored in the shootout.

Sharks goalie Kaapo Kahkonen, despite picking up a costly delay-of-game penalty that led to a late game-tying, power-play goal by Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty, made 44 saves. He stopped both Los Angeles shootout tries to earn his first victory since Dec. 7, ending a personal 0-7-1 skid.

“Just a real gutsy win coming in here and playing the way we did,” Quinn said. “Just a gutsy, gutsy win. … You’ve got to find ways to win and we did so tonight.”

The Sharks did it without one of their best defensemen down the stretch. Mario Ferraro, who took a hit into the boards from Kings center Trevor Lewis late in the second period, didn’t return.

“He’s going to be out I think for a couple games,” Quinn said.

–Field Level Media

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