New York Rangers host Sharks after thrilling road win over Predators
The New York Rangers will take on the San Jose Sharks in the final leg of a back-to-back set. No matter who the opponent is, they’re never easy, especially if they involve travel the night before. On Sunday, the Blueshirts host their old coach David Quinn, and his struggling Sharks.
San Jose sits with a record of 6-16-2, indicating they’re still deep in the midst of a rebuild and likely won’t even sniff the playoffs come spring. That may make it tempting for New York to slip into a “we don’t have to put forth our best effort” mentality for tonight’s game, but caveat emptor — because this very same Sharks team beat the New Jersey Devils on Friday night by a score of 6-3, on only 18 shots to New Jersey’s 47. And after last night’s slow start versus the Nashville Predators, the Rangers don’t want to find themselves in the same position — down 2-0 — in the second period again.
So far this season the Rangers are 2-0-0 in back-to-back sets after taking down the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins on November 24th and 25th respectively. They’ll look to stay perfect on Sunday, although Quinn’s Sharks walked out of MSG with a 3-2 OT win the last time they were in town early during the 2022-23 campaign.
Here’s today’s game and broadcast info:
New York Rangers (17-4-1) vs San Jose Sharks (6-16-2)
Date/Time: December 3, 2023 @ 6:00 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
TV: MSG, NHLN
Radio: ESPN 1050 AM
Note: Subject to change, updated for each game
New York Rangers Projected Lineup
With Filip Chytil yet to return and Kaapo Kakko still out on LTIR, expect a similar starting lineup to Saturday. Since Igor Shesterkin had the net against the Predators, Jonathan Quick will presumably get this start.
Head coach Laviolette made some line changes last night in the second period in order to get his team going, but it will be interesting if any of those changes persist into tonight’s game.
Please note this lineup is subject to change and will be updated as necessary.
Here are the line combinations and defensive pairings:
Kreider – Zibanejad – Wheeler
Panarin – Trocheck – Lafreniere
Cuylle – Bonino – Brodzinski
Vesey – Goodrow – Pitlick
Lindgren – Fox
Miller – Trouba
Gustafsson – Schneider
New York Rangers vs. San Jose Sharks
As noted above, last night’s tilt against the Predators did not initially go according to plan, and some changes were made midstream to get the Rangers back to their usual form. In the end, the Blueshirts walked away with a 4-3 victory, and Igor Shesterkin stopped 38 shots on goal. Notably, the Rangers’ face-off percentage was 58%, thanks in large part to the work of Vincent Trocheck — who also had a three-point game for the third time this season. Adam Fox tallied his tenth career three-assist game. In the 12 games he’s played this season, he has points in nine of them.
Jonny Brodzinski notched his first two points of the season (two assists) and Ryan Lindgren scored his first goal of the season, also his second career game-winning goal.
New York improved to 10-2-1 for a league-high 21 points on the road, as per the Rangers. The Blueshirts have wins in nine of their last eleven games and points in 16 of their last 18 games. They also earned their first multi-goal comeback victory of the season. When tied after two periods, the Rangers are now 7-0-0, a league best percentage.
“Just watching the first period, I just didn’t like it,” commented head coach Laviolette after the game about the line changes he enacted in the second and third periods. “We’ve had so much consistency in the lines and the way we roll them over — and to me it was a change of scenery for everybody. Everybody got a new look, and I thought the guys deserved so much credit for coming back and fighting back in that game.”
Compared to the Rangers’ 21 road points to date, the two points earned by the San Jose Sharks against New Jersey Friday night were the very first road points they’ve managed on the season.
Jacob MacDonald and Anthony Duclair each scored twice and goalie Kaapo Kahkonen made 44 saves — including 21 in the third period — as the Sharks beat the Devils to improve to 1-10-0 away from home this year.
“It was obviously a big topic of conversation before every road game, but tonight the boys stepped up, especially on the back-to-back,” said Duclair, mentioning the Sharks’ 3-0 loss to the Boston Bruins on Friday. “I really liked how we started the game, especially against (New Jersey), so fast, so skilled. We did a great job of just slowing them down.”
San Jose had been outscored 42-6 in its 10 previous road games this season — and matched that offensive output in one night. Tonight they look to follow up that victory with a win over the Rangers, who, although on a back-to-back game, have a 7-2-0 record at home and are playing perhaps the most consistent hockey in the league right now.