This San Jose Sharks team will give it everything they have despite not having the same talent available as other rosters. Some of the players on this roster deserve great credit for how they played in this loss, but the result is still not in the right column for Sharks fans. It’s good for a rebuilding team, with many things going well, but it hurts seeing this team get so close to the best team in the league.
Anthony Duclair gave the Sharks an early lead as he was left behind the Rangers defense. A beautiful stretch pass from Kyle Burroughs allowed the former Ranger to score against Jonathan Quick, and the hot Sharks continued to build on their win in New Jersey. The Duke has been an important member of this roster, and seeing him get another goal was good in terms of value for this player at the deadline.
It didn’t last long, as a bad penalty from William Eklund cost the Sharks. Adam Fox and Mika Zibanejad played catch until an Artemi Panarin shot beat the screened MacKenzie Blackwood as the Sharks penalty killers had dropped too deep. With the Rangers now on the board with momentum, the Sharks were now up against it. It was going to require some strong mental fortitude from this young team.
San Jose would get their lead back. The Sharks were able to get the puck over to a loose Ryan Carpenter in the slot and he was able to beat Quick from the slot, restoring the Sharks lead. San Jose’s poor road record before this game seemingly did not affect the team. It was a good offensive start for the Sharks.
Artemi Panarin would get his second of the game as he knocked the puck in on a rebound off of a wraparound chance. It was turning into a basketball game at MSG. A team with the record of the Sharks playing in a basketball-like game at MSG is not new to New Yorkers, with the Knicks being local, but it had become a very entertaining first period despite the two goals allowed by the Sharks.
New York would take its first lead of the night as some poor defense around the net leaves two Rangers wide open and MacKenzie Blackwood cannot stop a point-blank shot from the low slot. That made it a 3-2 lead for New York, and the Sharks were starting to look like a team that was struggling to keep up with one of the best teams in the NHL.
San Jose would tie the game up halfway through the second on a powerplay. A beautiful save from Blackwood a little earlier in the powerplay stopped former Shark Nick Bonino from extending the Ranger lead, but eventually, Jacob MacDonald stepped into one from the point that just beat everything. It bounced off the post and in off the skate of Quick, but the Sharks were back on level footing.
Matt Benning would give up a penalty shot as he had to take a penalty when Alexis Lafreniere got in behind the Sharks blueline. MacKenzie Blackwood foiled Lafreniere to keep the Sharks tied with the Rangers. San Jose needed to be better defensively if they were going to survive this kind of game with a team as strong as the Rangers.
New York would eventually get its lead back. Will Cuylle broke through after he received a feed from Bonino. And he was able to get the puck past Blackwood. It meant that with less than four minutes left in the second period, the Sharks were trailing 4-3. This could have been a backbreaker for a team that was playing a pretty good game and then is suddenly behind against a team of this calibre.
Panarin would get his hat trick. San Jose couldn’t clear the zone. Blackwood was loose with a nothing shot and could not swallow it, and the Sharks were punished with the rebound being knocked into the cage behind the former New Jersey Devil. It was now a two-goal lead for the Rangers, and the Sharks hadn’t won a game all season when losing at the end of the second period. A multigoal lead made this a near-impossible task.
K’Andre Miller would get a goal that started when the Sharks couldn’t clear the puck out of the zone. Some sloppy defense saw the Sharks dropping too close to Blackwood, and Miller just rifled one into the corner to make it 6-3. At this point, Shark fans around the country want to see goals and good looks from the young talents and trade bait on the roster. This result is not in doubt any longer.
Fabian Zetterlund would get a goal for himself. He was able to slap home a rebound after Duclair streaked into the zone and found a nice pass to Mikael Granlund. Granlund’s shot is stopped, but Zetterlund sets his new career high in goals. With five minutes left, there was still no doubt as to how this was going to end, but it looked more respectable in a 6-4 score line than a 6-3 score line.
Alexander Barabanov celebrated his return to the lineup with a goal. A passing play was able to set up Barby, and the Sharks suddenly made it a 6-5 game. In a game where the Sharks were outmatched in talent, their relentless work rate had them holding even with the offensive firepower of the New York Rangers. Suddenly, the final four minutes of this game were going to be meaningful.
San Jose put the pressure on in the final minutes, but they couldn’t find the game tying goal against the best team in the NHL. There are a lot of small positives to take from tonight, but there’s a lot to work on. Winning would have been nice, but there’s still some good here. This team is getting better, and that is always good. Hopefully, they can continue that winning streak on this road trip.