The Blueshirts continue their western conference road trip where they will look to bounce back after suffering defeat to the Los Angeles Kings (10:30 P.M. ET, MSG).
After starting off the road trip by dominating the Vegas Golden Knights, the Rangers tasted defeat against the 30th ranked Los Angeles Kings. The Blueshirts gave up a goal just seconds before the first intermission and they would be playing catch-up for the rest of the game. The Rangers only goal came on the power play by Artemi Panarin with half a minute left in the game to cut the deficit to one. But the Kings would quickly add the empty net goal and come out victorious 3-1. Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves in his return to the crease.
“I thought we had a good first and I thought we were ready to play,” said head coach David Quinn. “Give them a lot of credit – they managed the game well.”
“It feels like our structure’s been a lot better, but now it’s just about taking the next step,” said Chris Kreider. “It’s some little stuff, but all in all, I think we are playing better hockey.”
The good news for the Rangers is they have been answering defeats by winning the next game. The Rangers are 9-1-0 following a regulation or overtime defeat in their last ten defeats. In addition, they have won five straight games following a defeat.
Tonight, the Rangers visit the shark tank for the only time this season. The Blueshirts won both meetings against San Jose last season and have won three straight against them. The Sharks made it to the Western Conference Final last season, but have mightily struggled this season and are currently on a five-game losing streak (0-3-2). However, they’ll be unpredictable tonight because less than 24 hours ago, the Sharks fired their head coach Peter DeBoer and his staff. Bob Boughner was named the interim head coach and will coach his first game as the Sharks coach. Boughner was the head coach of the Florida Panthers from 2017-2019.
San Jose did keep a good portion of their core together throughout the off season and they brought back fan favorite Patrick Marleau. However, they did lose Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi, Gustav Nyquist, and Joakim Ryan.
Sharks captain Logan Couture leads the team in scoring with 29 points. Evander Kane, Tomas Hertl, and Erik Karlsson each have 24 points and Brett Burns isn’t far behind with 21. The Sharks major struggles seem to be keeping the puck out of the net. Both Martin Jones and Aaron Dell have a goals against average above 3.00 and have a save percentage under .900.
The Rangers lines and starting goaltender will likely be reveal at the morning skate, but expect Alex Georgiev to get the start. Georgiev has been red hot lately and is coming off a shutout of the Golden Knights. Quinn will likely turn back to the 23-year-old and see if he can keep his strong play going. Kaapo Kakko had a strong game in Los Angeles registering an assist and a game high eight shots. He will likely remain in the top six for the Rangers.
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