Rangers Close Out California Trip in San Jose

The Rangers are in San Jose tonight to take on the Sharks for the final time in the regular season.

The game wraps up the three-game west coast trip with the Blueshirts having beaten the Kings and losing to the Ducks on the six-day trip. In the only other match between the two teams, the Rangers scored a 7-4 win over the Sharks in mid-October at MSG.

The Rangers are coming off a 6-3 loss to Anaheim where, according to coach Alain Vigneault, “too many guys brought their ‘C’ game.”

Most of the Ranger success this season has been the result of an “all-hands-on-deck” participation.  Beyond Henrik Lundqvist, the roster doesn’t boast a depth of game-breakers so it is imperative that this group, like Ranger teams of recent past, be a sum of very good parts by bringing their ‘A’ game each and every night.  That is their best chance at success.

San Jose is reeling somewhat having lost six consecutive while giving up 13 goals in their last two games. They will play without one of their top players, Logan Couture. Couture was hit in the mouth with a puck against Nashville and has suffered significant dental damage. The Sharks’ recent play should not be an invitation for the Rangers to take their opponent lightly. This is a deep, talented playoff-bound opponent who will break out of their recent woes. The Blueshirts must compete and not let tonight be a “breakout night” for San Jose.

3 Keys to Rangers-Sharks

1. Centers of Attention

Derek Stepan and Mika Zibanejad have both been better of recent and will need to continue to play at the top of their game when they face the veterans Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in the middle.

2. Scoring First

San Jose has allowed the opponent to score the game’s first goal in each of their six contests, all losses. Jumping on them with the opening goal may cause a fragile opponent to think that they may be in for another losing night.

3. Lead After Two 

The Sharks have just one victory in the 22 games where they have trailed after two periods while the Rangers are 26-4-0 when leading after the second. The numbers speak for themselves.

Coverage

Rangers/Sharks tonight on the MSG Radio Network, ESPN 98.7 FM and the MSG Television Network. Pre-game at 10. Puck drop is a little after 10:30.

Check it out!