Schneider scores, Shesterkin shines as Rangers down Sharks and take first place

The New York Rangers dove into the Shark Tank led by goaltender Igor Shesterkin fresh off the COVID list. In exchange, Alexis Lafrenière became the latest to go into protocol.

However, there was plenty excitement as rookie defenseman Braden Schneider made his long-awaited debut. Also making his Rangers debut was childhood fan, Anthony Greco from Queens.

When it was over, it was an eventful night for the Rangers as they reclaimed first in the Metro.

Recap: Rangers 3 vs Sharks 0

The Sharks were the early aggressors as they challenged the Rangers physically. However, it was the Blueshirts that came up clutch in the opening frame.

With Ryan Strome off for cross checking, the PK went to work and got the Blueshirts on the board first. Off a draw in the defensive zone, Adam Fox moved the puck to Chris Kreider, who quickly dished it Mika Zibanejad.

The speedy forwards moved up ice quickly with Zibanejad drawing the Sharks defenders to him. Once they were close enough, he sauced it to Kreider for a quick snapshot past Adin Hill at the 10:25 mark.

“It was a tremendous play by the guys on the ice, and great pass by Mika,” Kreider said of his first career shorthanded goal.

San Jose continued their attack but Igor Shesterkin, who returned to action after 7 days on the COVID list, stopped all 10 shots.

Sharks get physical with Rangers

rangers vs sharks
Jan 13, 2022; San Jose, California, USA; New York Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller (79) swings towards San Jose Sharks left wing Rudolfs Balcers (92) during the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

In the second period, the Sharks ratcheted up the physical play which included a hit from behind on K’Andre Miller by Adam Raska. That prompted Jacob Trouba to get in Raska’s face and let him know that wasn’t acceptable.

Trouba matched the Sharks aggression as he and Timo Meier had a tight battle that led to matching minors. Then almost as soon as he left the box, Trouba was challenged by Jeffrey Viel to a fight which he obliged.

The Rangers outshot the Sharks 13-10 in the middle frame, but the biggest chance came on a breakaway by Andrew Cogliano. Shesterkin calmly shut it down and had 20 saves through two periods.

Schneider scores, Shesterkin shines

In the third period, New York came out with more poise and purpose leading to a special moment.

Filip Chytil and Ryan Strome worked the puck down low. As they applied the pressure, Strome found Schneider coming in late for a blast just 1:27 in. For the kid it was his first NHL goal, in his first NHL game.

The rookie would finish the night with 3 shots, 4 hits, and 2 blocks in an impressive 14:49 of ice time.

The Blueshirts would play a solid final stanza, but when they broke down Shesterkin was there. That included a late PP with three minutes left where Igor stopped three shots.

Kreider, who made a huge block on a Brent Burns shot on the PK iced it with an empty net goal for the 200th goal of his career.

After the game, Kreider was asked which milestone meant more to him, the shorthanded goal or his 200th career marker.

“Shorthanded,” he quickly answered. “I’ve wanted that for a long time.”

The Rangers will close out the road trip in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Notable Rangers

  • Igor Shesterkin picked up his third shutout of the season stopping 37 saves
  • Braden Schneider became the 7th NYR defenseman to score a goal in his NHL first game
  • Chris Kreider’s 2 goals gives him 23 on the season

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