Too much Bread for Sharks, as Artemi Panarin powers Rangers to win

NHL: San Jose Sharks at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

We are three weeks removed from National Bread Day, which happens on November 17th every year. But New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin continued to stay in the festive mood as his third hat-trick as a Blueshirt catapulted his team to a wild 6-5 victory on Sunday night against the San Jose Sharks at Madison Square Garden.

“Back to backs are never easy,” said K’Andre Miller, who scored the eventual game-winner. “It was just a matter of finding our game.”

When the final buzzer sounded, it marked the 3000th regular-season win in franchise history. Only four other teams have accomplished the feat.

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New York Rangers 6 vs San Jose Sharks 5

NHL: San Jose Sharks at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight game, the Rangers would not start on time. They would be caught in the Sharks zone cheating for offense and former Ranger Anthony Duclair found himself all alone on a breakaway and would undress Jonathan Quick and just under four minutes into the game, San Jose would lead 1-0.

The Rangers would have a chance to respond very quickly as they would go to the power play for the first time on the night as Jimmy Vesey is high-sticked. However, for the second straight game, the Rangers would allow a fantastic chance against their netminder while on the power play. Vesey would make a great play on Mikael Granlund to take away the chance. But the Rangers, again, looked sloppy early.

The Rangers would head right back to the power play though, as William Eklund would be sent off for hooking. Artemi Panarin would take a shot that deflects off the stick of Chris Kreider causing Sharks goalie Mackenzie Blackwood to make the save and subsequently stopping Vincent Trocheck on the rebound attempt and covering the puck. Off the ensuing face-off, Mika Zibanejad would dish to Panarin who found himself with all the time in the world to walk right into the middle of the ice and beat Blackwood, who was screened by Chris Kreider. Blackwood never saw the puck and reacted after the puck went in the net and the game was tied at 1.

It was a tough first period for Rangers goaltender Jonathan Quick, who has otherwise been spectacular this season. The Sharks would do a good job keeping the puck in the zone. While working hard on the near wall in the offensive zone, the puck would find the stick of another former Ranger Ryan Carpenter at the top of the circle. His weak wrist shot would slip through the glove of Jonathan Quick and into the net, undoubtedly one that Quick would like to have back causing the Sharks to regain a one-goal lead.

The Rangers would respond immediately. Off the rush, the puck became loose behind the net and Vincent Trocheck would try a wraparound, but Blackwood stretched his pad just far enough to get there. The Sharks, however, cannot contain Panarin, who is in the right spot to bang home the rebound, his second of the night, to tie the game at 2.

The Sharks struggled to cover the front of the net for the entire opening period and the Rangers would take advantage again. Just under four minutes after the Panarin goal, Mika Zibanejad would be the beneficiary of a gorgeous feed from Chris Kreider, and Zibanejad would slot the puck high glove on Blackwood, an insanely accurate shot that would give the Rangers their first lead of the game.

New York would go right back to the power play as Panarin was wrapped up by Ryan Carpenter, the third man-advantage for the Rangers in the period. The powerplay was all Blueshirts. They played the entire two minutes in the Sharks zone but were unable to put the puck in the net. Zibanejad hit the post on a wide-open chance, and Blackwood made a few good saves. New York would outshoot San Jose 15-9 in the period and take a 3-2 lead into the break.

“It wasn’t the ultimate game,” Zibanejad admitted. “We could’ve done a better job of not making it so interesting in the end, but we’ll take the points from this weekend.”

The first eight minutes of the second period were very uneventful. That all changed when Anthony Duclair started the offense again for the Sharks, he would drive down low off the rush, forcing Quick to get to the right post, and then a pass would go across the crease to Granlund who was robbed by the Rangers goaltender. Maybe Quick’s best save as a Ranger to keep his team ahead.

Mika Zibanejad would then take a questionable tripping call that looked like he made the play defensively and the Sharks player tripped himself. But New York would be shorthanded for the first time on the night and at the end of the power play, Jacob McDonald would blast one from the point and squeak it by Quick and into the net. With the goal, the Rangers have now allowed a power play tally for the third consecutive game, with this one tying the score at three.

Later in the period, it would be Alexis Lafreniere finding a puck that skipped over the stick of Matt Benning, and on the breakaway, he is dragged down causing a penalty shot that Lafreniere would be stopped on after making a backhand then forehand move.

Near the end of the middle frame, Jacob Trouba would make a hustle play in the defensive zone finding the loose puck, and he would throw an arial pass to Nick Bonino who gloved it down at center ice. Without settling the puck, Bonino would make a soft pass to Will Cuylle, who streaked into the zone with speed splitting the defense and wiring a shot past Blackwood on a semi-breakaway to give the Rangers the lead back into the second intermission.

The Sharks would get careless in the defensive zone, and a soft breakout pass was broken up by Jonny Brodzinski who would streak in off the steal and put the puck on the net that Blackwood saved but Artemi Panarin was in the right spot again at the front of the net to clean up the loose puck. Panarin’s third hat trick as a Ranger puts the Blueshirts up a pair in the third.

Later in the period, Braden Schneider would send a beautiful stretch pass up the ice finding a wide-open Chris Kreider who was behind the Sharks defense on a breakaway. Kreider, with 280 career goals and a chance to tie Brian Leetch for third all-time in Rangers goal scoring staring him in the face rang one off the bar.

Already with three goals on the night, Artemi Panarin would make a sweet defensive play that would only get better after he sauced a pass over to K’Andre Miller who made no mistake as he rifled the shot passed Blackwood and extended the Ranger lead to 6-3.

The Sharks would stop the bleeding on a 3-on-2. A pass from Anthony Duclair would reach the stick of Mikael Granlund who fired one off the pad of Quick but cleaning up the rebound was former New Jersey Devil Fabien Zetterlund to cut the deficit to two goals.

San Jose would add another one. Alexander Barabonov would benefit from yet another rebound. He would bang home the chance and within the span of 1:22, the Sharks were within a goal.

The Rangers would survive the late scare from San Jose and move to 18-4-1 on the season, leaping Vegas in the standings atop the NHL standings.

After the game at home, the Rangers will head to Ottawa on Tuesday night to square off with the Ottawa Senators.

“I really liked the third period and the way we played it,” Laviolette said. “You thought 6-3 it was over, but we could’ve played a little better in the end. At the end of the day, the guys fought really hard under the circumstances and got the win.”

Rangers Notes

  • New York Rangers record their 3000th win in franchise history
  • Jonathan Quick stopped 23 of 28 shots
  • Artemi Panarin notched 4 points (3 goals, 1 assist)
  • Jonny Brodzinski picked up another 2 assist game
  • Jacob Trouba registered 2 assists

The Rangers will face the Senators in Ottawa on Tuesday with a 7 p.m. ET puck drop.

Steven Pappas is a North Jersey native who works as a news anchor and reporter at WHAM-13 in Rochester,... More about Steven Pappas