New York Rangers look to find spark against Sharks

The Rangers are coming off a 3-1 loss Monday at Los Angeles, their second in three games during a five-game road swing.

Kris Knoblauch served as the interim coach for New York after Gerard Gallant tested positive for COVID-19. Knoblauch, who coaches the Rangers’ American Hockey League team, took a red-eye flight from Hartford, Conn., and arrived in Los Angeles at 2:30 a.m. Monday.

“He’s asking us to play the exact same way and it’s on us as a group to do those things,” Rangers forward Chris Kreider said. “I think that a very recurring theme when things go sideways for us is we’re really hurting ourselves, and we did that a lot (Monday) I think.”

Rangers may get reinforcements for Sharks

The Rangers got Artemi Panarin back from the COVID list but fellow forward Barclay Goodrow joined teammates Igor Shesterkin, Ryan Reaves and Julien Gauthier in the health and safety protocol.

Goaltender Shesterkin and forward Julien Gauthier could return Thursday. Alexandar Georgiev is still expected to start.

Today marks the 7th day for Shesterkin and the 6th for Gauthier. Reaves will be in his 5th day on protocol which makes him eligible to return. If all three players are asymptomatic and test negative, it’s possible they could be in the lineup for tonight’s contest against the San Jose Sharks.

The Rangers are scheduled to skate today at 2:30 PM ET in San Jose. Expect more clarity on Shesterkin and Gauthier by then. Additionally, we could also get confirmation on if Braden Schneider will make his Rangers debut.

rangers sharks
Dec 3, 2021; New York, New York, USA; San Jose Sharks goalie Adin Hill (33) attempts to stop a goal by New York Rangers center Ryan Strome (16) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Both Gerard Gallant and Barclay Goodrow could be available for the Saturday’s contest against the Flyers.

New York will hope to find a spark after a listless performance where they only managed 22 shots against the Kings.

Alexis Lafrenière to remain in top six

With Panarin is back from COVID protocol, Alexis Lafrenière is trying to get acclimated to switching wings. It’s a move that the Rangers first overall pick openly admitted he was not 100% comfortable early in the season.

“I played left wing my whole life, so obviously I’m most comfortable there,” Lafrenière said on Wednesday. “I’m ready to try and adjust to right wing and play the best hockey that I can.”

Lafrenière has played well since being given the opportunity and more ice time with Panarin out. The 20 year-old had a nice little scoring stretch but tapered off with no points in his last three games. For the season, he has 11 points (8G, 3A) in 37 games.

“It’s a little different coming back to your own end playing right,” Lafrenière said of the adjustment. “I’m comfortable. It’s going to take a couple of games but I think I’ll learn.”

Sharks turn aside octopus in win

Never throw an octopus into a shark tank. That was the lesson learned by one Detroit fan Tuesday night in San Jose.

Early in overtime in a game between the Red Wings and host Sharks, a toy octopus was thrown onto the ice at SAP Center — nicknamed the Shark Tank — landing on the red line at center ice.

With the Sharks in possession of the puck during the three-on-three overtime, captain Logan Couture waved to one of the linesmen to get the toy off the ice. The linesman pushed the octopus to the side boards and seconds later Couture knocked a loose puck into the net for the winner in a 3-2 game.

Red Wings fans have a long history of throwing an octopus onto the ice, but generally only during home playoff games.

“It was weird because the crowd was screaming and yelling and I didn’t know what was going on,” said Couture, who returned after spending five days in COVID-19 protocol. “I looked up. I thought there was a jersey on the ice. I got closer and saw it was an octopus. I kind of skated around it.”

“It’s definitely not something you see every day,” Sharks forward Timo Meier said of the octopus. “It’s their tradition, but I guess it brought us luck.”

Burns assisted on all three goals as the Sharks improved to 6-0 in overtime this season.

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–Field Level Media contributed to this report