When the San Jose Sharks consider their toughest task of the season, the scoring against the New York Rangers will top the list.
For the second time this year, the Rangers shut out the Sharks 3-0 at the SAP Center on Jan. 13. San Jose played well most of the time, again scoring solid goals. But as the saying goes, you can’t win if you can’t score, and it was another tough night for New York’s offense.
Shesterkin dominates the sharks again
Rangers goalie Igor Shestkin returns From the COVID-19 Protocol Listed to face the Sharks in time, which was unfortunate for San Jose as he shut them down again and kept them out.
Shesterkin’s 1-0 win over the Sharks at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 3 made 19 saves before leaving the game with a lower-body injury in the third quarter. In SAP Center, this is even more the case.
He’s been great at the net with 35 saves, and the Sharks work hard and have a lot of quality looks. But in a total of 115 minutes of playing time, they never tackled Russian netizens.
The Sharks did everything but scored in the second quarter. Andrew Cogliano The Sharks had a chance to score in the second quarter when Thomas Hertle fed him on the drive, but Shestkin came on again to deny the goal. It wasn’t long before Hertle got his own chance, but before the puck came in, the net came off the moor and comments backed the penalty on the ice.
The best chance came when the Sharks had a one-on-one break with Hertl and Timo Meier with 2:47 left in the second quarter. But Meyer knocked the ball off the post. It was a frustrating night. The good news is that the Sharks won’t have to see him again during the regular season.
San Jose was hurt by another underhanded target
The turning point of the game was the Rangers’ first goal and the Sharks giving up another short pitcher.
They had a power game with four forwards and defenseman Brent Burns on the ice.Rangers able to drive into San Jose area, Chris Creed beats Sharks goalie adin hill The opening 10:35 lead to 1-0.
It was the sixth time in 2021-22 against the Sharks, who missed two free throws on Jan. 4 against Detroit.
“We knew our special team had to get better,” Sharks forward Timo Mayer says“As a power game, you want to score goals on the pitch and not let them score. Next game, we’ll work harder to score for them.”
What should have been a good thing — a strong game — turned into a bad thing and killed any momentum the team might have had. The Sharks had to find a way to better protect the puck.
Hill remains consistent
Hill has been labelled a loss, but the coaching staff has to like what they’ve seen from him over the past four games.
During that time, he conceded just two goals a game and won three. The Rangers’ third goal was an empty goal from Creed. Hill had 26 saves for a .933 save percentage.
With James Reimer still out with injury, Hill has done well. He didn’t light up the world, but he kept the game close and gave the Sharks a chance to win.
“He’s giving us a chance every night,” Sharks coach Bob Bowner said. “We’ve asked him to give us a chance to win every night, and I think he’s done it. Calm, calm. We need to get some attacking on him.”
Balzers, Bonino return to lineup
The battered Sharks received some good news when Rudolfs Balcers and Nick Bonino returned to the lineup.
Balcers, who played in the front line with Hertl and Meier, had two shots at 17:05 after missing 13 games with a lower extremity injury. Despite having little time to prepare after a cross-country flight, Bonino took the field without any sign of jet lag.
Bonino, who had been in the COVID-19 protocol in Philadelphia, flew to San Jose on the morning of a Rangers game and centered on the third line between Cogliano and Mate Nieto. He has not played in Buffalo since Jan. 6, missing two games. He was on the ice for 15 minutes and 10 seconds, had 4 field goals and 1 blocked shot.
San Jose is a bit healthier, but still has a lot of injury issues.
Reimer (lower body), Jacob Middleton (upper body), Kevin Labanc (upper body), Nikolai Knyzhov (upper body), Jonah Gadjovich (upper body) all remain on the injured reserve list, while Alexander Barabanov has just entered the COVID-19 protocol.
If they can’t get some of these players back soon, it’s going to be difficult to continue playing solid hockey.
Scott Linesburgh has been a sports writer for 35 years and a professional hockey beat writer for over 15 years. He has covered some of the biggest sporting events, including the Super Bowl and the Indianapolis 500. Scott, a native of Long Island, N.Y. and an Islanders fan since childhood, covered the San Jose Sharks for THW and was always on the lookout for stories beyond the box scoring.