The Rangers came into Thursday nights game on a major skid and a skid that has come at a bad time. The Rangers started this road trip in Colorado, dropping the first game before a three-game West-Coast trip is not a good sign. Following Colorado’s lose the Rangers started their West-Coast trip, with L.A. to start then Anaheim, both resulted in losses.
The final game of the road trip was vs San Jose, a team that is battling two injuries to their top guys, Joe Thornton and Martin Jones. The Rangers are battling their own injuries and their own problems in their play. Luckily Thursday night the Rangers welcomed Kevin Hayes back to the lineup, a much needed forward for the Rangers.
Coming into the game the Rangers were 24-20-5 just outside of a wild-card spot, on a three-game losing streak and struggling for a win. The game opened up with a goal from Kevin Hayes(11) just 5:45 into the game like we said before a much needed forward for the Rangers. And Hayes stepped up big time for the Rangers to get them off to an early lead. Just a minute later the Sharks would tie the game at one off the stick of Ben Goodrow(4), the first would include more Rangers offense then Sharks but ended in a tie at two. The other first period goals came from Logan Couture(19) at 10:56 and with minutes to play in the first Jesper Fast(8) tied the game at two. Shots were 12 to 7 in favor of the Rangers at the end of one.
The second would open with another Logan Couture(20) goal just 2:36 into the period, off a mishandle by Sharks Kevin LeBanc, a 1-on-2 situation, where the Rangers defense need to take the body and force the forward wide, instead they gave LeBanc the middle of the ice, Couture found the loose puck and buried it home. In due time, captain Ryan McDonagh scored his first goal of the season to tie the game at three, eight minutes following Couture’s goal. McDonagh(2) would yet again score just a 1:12 later on the power play off a simple wrist shot from the blue, traffic in front, Dell could not see the puck and the Rangers go up 4-3. Minutes before the period ended, Brady Skeji(3) scored the fifth goal to give the Rangers a 5-3 lead.
What looked to be a Rangers win, up two heading into the final period of play, 20 minutes to hold a lead and walk out of San Jose with a much needed two points and the monkey off their backs, did not come so easily. The third started again with a Sharks goal, this time Marc-Edouard Vlasic(8) scored off a wrist shot from a questionable angle, but somehow found it’s way in and just like that the Rangers lead was cut to one. (Side note that is Vlasic’s third goal and 7th point in the last five games). With two minutes to play, a one-goal game, JT Miller(11) came up with a timely goal to put the Rangers up two, leading 6-4. With just 50 seconds to play the Sharks would score off the stick of Tomas Hertl(14), cutting the lead to one, with 50 seconds to go in regulation. Luckily, thank god, the Rangers held off the Sharks for 50 seconds and collected their first win in four games and head into the All-Star break on a high note.
- Rangers took one penalty (2 PIMS)
- Won the special teams game (1/3 on PP, 1/1 on PK)
- Outshot the Sharks (29-28)
- Scored the first goal (Hayes)
- Played with urgency and desperation
For those that did not read the pregame post, I noted all those things, in order for the Rangers to see win. Rangers now get to rest, refocus and get ready for a long stretch this is a sprint folks and with the way the Metropolitan division is looking, nothing will come easy. The Rangers sit a point out of a wild card spot right now, with 32 games to play.