The San Jose Sharks and New York Rangers are hoping to make the
playoffs. Their seasons, though, seem to be going in opposite
Looking to continue their quest for a fourth consecutive Pacific
Division title, the Sharks try to avoid back-to-back home losses
for the first time in two months when they face the Rangers on
As of Jan. 14, San Jose was tied for 10th place in the Western
Conference while mired in a season-worst six-game skid.
New York, meanwhile, was going through a stretch of four wins in
five games at that time and sat in a fourth-place tie in the
The Rangers, however, have since gone 9-14-1 and find themselves
in a battle for one of the final playoff spots in the East, while
the division-leading Sharks have won 18 of 23 to move into third in
San Jose, which hasn’t lost consecutive home games since a
six-game slide Dec. 27-Jan. 13, fell 5-4 to the Canucks in a
shootout Thursday night for just its second defeat in 10 games at
HP Pavilion since that skid.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first period, the Sharks
(39-22-7) battled back to erase three deficits but couldn’t score
in the shootout.
“We’re on our end still, fighting for our playoff lives, so we
have to get as many points as we can,” said captain Joe Thornton,
who had two assists. “The atmosphere was great, it was an exciting
game to be a part of. We just kept coming back. It’s a good
Left wing Ryane Clowe scored his 20th and 21st goals while
center Torrey Mitchell and right wing Devin Setoguchi also scored.
San Jose fell to 23-0-2 when scoring at least four times.
Setoguchi’s goal was his seventh in his last nine games.
Antti Niemi has gone 17-3-2 with three shutouts and a 1.95
goals-against average while starting each of the Sharks’ last 23
games. Niemi has never faced the Rangers.
San Jose had gone 0-4-1 with one tie against New York before
winning the last two meetings, including 7-3 on the road Oct. 19,
2009, as Setoguchi recorded two goals and an assist.
The Rangers (35-30-4) fell for the fourth time in six games
Wednesday, 5-2 at Anaheim.
“It’s done and over with, but at the same time we have to make
sure we have a different work ethic and desire to play next game,”
forward Vinny Prospal, who extended his point streak to five games
with an assist, told the Rangers’ official website.
“We are the ones responsible for our play on the ice. We have to
be better than (Wednesday). These games have a lot of meaning for
us right now.”
Brandon Dubinsky’s first-period goal snapped a season-worst
11-game drought and moved him into a tie for the team lead with 20.
Dubinsky also ranks first on the Rangers with 25 assists and 45
Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves as his personal three-game road
winning streak came to an end. Lundqvist stopped 27 shots in his
only career start at San Jose, a 3-2 loss Dec. 20, 2008.