Martin Jones guides San Jose Sharks past skidding New York Rangers

By Dave Lozo, The Sports Xchange  |  Oct. 23, 2017 at 11:15 PM
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NEW YORK -- Martin Jones was outstanding Monday night, stopping 33 shots as the San Jose Sharks trounced the New York Rangers 4-1 at Madison Square Garden.

The Sharks and Rangers are two teams headed in opposite directions. San Jose (4-4-0) has won three of four to climb to .500, while New York (2-6-2) has lost six of seven and sits near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

The Rangers had every chance during the first two periods to put themselves in position to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. However, they went 0-for-6 on the power play as the Sharks' penalty-killers consistently disrupted New York's flow and timing.

It also helped that Jones stopped all 10 shots he faced with his team short-handed.

"It was huge," said Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, who felt some of the calls against his team were borderline. "Couple of them were penalties, couple of them ... sometimes they are, sometimes they're not. So what are you gonna do? When they're piling up on you, it makes it tough. But it really didn't matter how they came, the killers executed. They stayed aggressive, and Jones made the big saves when he had to."

As has been common this season, the Rangers allowed an early goal and never completely recovered.

Logan Couture scored his fourth goal in two games and seventh of the season 1:56 into the first period to put the Sharks ahead 1-0. There was a delayed penalty coming against the Rangers, so Couture's shot that ricocheted in traffic and past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was essentially a six-on-five goal with Jones on the bench for an extra skater.

Rookie defenseman Tim Heed's first NHL goal at 12:45 made it 2-0 and was one that Lundqvist usually stops. Heed flicked a shot from a deep angle that squeezed through Lundqvist and turned out to be the deciding goal.

The Rangers had numerous chances to get back into the game with the Sharks parading to the penalty box -- there was even a 25-second five-on-three power play late in the first period -- but Jones was there to stop all 24 shots he faced over the first two periods.

"They're one of the top penalty-killing units in the league," Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said. "We had an early power play, had some momentum going, and that's really what we've got to focus on. We've got to generate more looks than the few that we did."

The air went out of the building once Joonas Donskoi scored on a breakaway in the waning seconds of the second period to put the Sharks ahead 3-0. Melker Karlsson's goal early in the third period with Lundqvist out of position behind the net that made it 4-0.

Mika Zibanejad's seventh goal of the season less than two minutes later made it 4-1, but that was just window dressing on another Rangers loss.

Lundqvist made 20 saves.

The Rangers have two days of practice before hosting the winless Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. New York coach Alain Vigneault believes the players on his roster can right the ship before the season is lost completely.

"This personnel is good," Vigneault said. "We've just got to play the right way. Unfortunately, right now in the 10 games, we've gotten behind, and we've gotten behind early. Our inability to find the back of the net is hurting us, but there is definitely skill and talent in that room. We had plenty of good opportunities tonight."

The Sharks have two more stops on their five-game road trip and would like to correct some of the mistakes that forced Jones to bail out his undisciplined teammates against the Rangers.

"Just a couple turnovers here and there," Jones said. "We're playing really well five-on-five, and then it's just bad turnovers that we can have easily eliminated from our game. I don't think its big change. I think it's just a couple little mistakes here and there we can clean up."

NOTES: The Sharks scratched RW Timo Meier, RW Jannik Hansen and D Dylan DeMelo. Hansen and Meier had played in San Jose's first seven games. ... Sharks RW Joel Ward participated after he was a healthy scratch the previous five games. He was a minus-1 in 11:42 of ice time. ... San Jose C Logan Couture's assist on RW Melker Karlsson's third-period goal was the 200th of his career. ... The Rangers used seven defensemen and 11 forwards for the second straight game, scratching C Adam Cracknell, D Steven Kampfer and C Paul Carey. ... Rangers D Kevin Shattenkirk played his 500th NHL game.

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