By: David Kolb | @DavidKolbMSG
SAN JOSE SHARKS (2-0-0) @ NEW YORK RANGERS (1-1-0)
Tonight the Rangers host the San Jose Sharks at The Garden for the first of two games between the clubs this season. The Rangers will take the ice with a record of 1-1 following a 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, while the Sharks moved to 2-0 by edging the Blue Jackets, 3-2.
RANGER KEY FOR SUCCESS
The Rangers need to put the pressure on the Sharks’ defense, particularly against their third defensive pair of Brenden Dillon and David Schlemko. If coach Alain Vigneault can get favorable matchups when Schlemko and Dillon are on the ice then his Rangers should get quality scoring chances.
The Rangers outshot the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, 35-18, in a losing effort, but 15 of those shots came in the third period after Carter Hutton found his groove in net for the Blues. It will be important for the Rangers to jump on the Sharks early and often to keep San Jose on its heels from the start.
KEYS TO STOPPING SAN JOSE
The Rangers must limit penalties or last year’s Western Conference Champs will make them pay. Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns make up San Jose’s first power play unit. As a team, the Sharks are already scoring at a 30.8 percent rate with the man advantage.
The Rangers will be without Dan Girardi (hip flexor injury) and so the defensive pairings will be adjusted once again in order to handle the numerous offensive weapons the Sharks possess.
Sharks’ defenseman Brent Burns continues to be a stud for the Sharks, both defensively and on the offensive end of the ice. He shares the team lead in scoring, with a goal and two assists through two tilts, and he must be watched closely in the Rangers defensive zone by a Blueshirt winger at all times, as Burns owns one of the quickest releases in hockey.