Rangers blank San Jose with backup, Raanta in starring role

Zuccarello scores (Bruce Bennett / getty images)

Zuccarello scores (Bruce Bennett / getty images)

No Cam Talbot…no problem. Antti Raanta stepped in and stepped up by blanking the San Jose Sharks at the Garden. It was the first Rangers’ shutout debut since Marcel Paille in 1957.

[su_quote cite=”Blueshirts United” url=”https://www.blueshirtsunited.com/article/raanta-debuts-4-0-shutout-sharks”]”It was a great start, and how the fans got more and more behind us as the game wore on, was great, too,” said a smiling Raanta post-game. “I give a big thanks to the guys in front of me. Our defense was really really good.”[/su_quote]

Raanta celebrates his first win (Bruce Bennett)

Raanta celebrates his first win (Bruce Bennett)

The Rangers new backup wasn’t tested much early, but when San Jose started to push in the 2nd period he was there answering the call. One of his best saves came off Tomas Hertl who literally ended the career of another Rangers backup goalie, Martin Biron.

Marc Staal got the Rangers on the board first in the opening period. “I wanted to try and get it (the puck) to the net fast,” Staal said afterward. The shot wasn’t seen by Sharks goalie Martin Jones thanks to Jesper Fast who played a tremendous game. Even the Rangers PP got on the board thanks to Mats Zuccarello with Rick Nash screening Jones this time. New York closed out the scoring when Jesper Fast and Viktor Stalberg added insurance markers in the third.

So here we are 7 games into the year and guys like Oscar Lindberg, Dominic Moore, Fast, Stalberg, Klein and Staal all have goals before Rick Nash and Chris Kreider. To be honest, last night they should of at least had one each but it’s almost like there’s a forcefield when they shoot.

Alain Vigneault recognized it too but feels a breakout is coming for at least his star forward. “Nasher, I thought had one of his best games since the beginning of the year. He had some great chances, the ones that aren’t going in right now are gonna go in later.” For now, Nash just needs to keep his head down and put everything he can on net. Same goes for Kreider who has to play the game at 100 MPH to be effective. The Blueshirts legit power forward simply needs to crash the net and get some ugly goals to get going.

The Rangers broke the losing streak last night, but aren’t out of the woods yet. While it is great to get secondary scoring from players like Staal and Stalberg, it can’t be expected every night. In order to win consistently in the NHL, you need your best players going and the Rangers better hope it happens soon.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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