Published January 13, 2015
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Jose Sharks look to stay unbeaten on the young season Tuesday night as they conclude a season-opening, three-game homestand versus the New York Rangers.
The Sharks have opened up with home wins over Vancouver and Phoenix as they look to post their second straight quick start to the season. They won their first seven games of the recent lockout-shortened season to post the best start in franchise history, but did lose seven in a row after that run.
Rookie Tomas Hertl has helped spark San Jose's offense early. The 19-year-old rookie had an assist in his NHL debut, a 4-1 win over the Canucks last Thursday, and then scored the first two goals of his career on Saturday in another 4-1 triumph over the Coyotes.
"I think it's great. You can see how he's having fun with it. He's smiling a lot. He brings a lot of energy to the group and it's fun to see," said Patrick Marleau of Hertl, the 17th overall pick of the 2012 draft.
Marleau also scored in the opening period and Logan Couture added an empty- netter to power the Sharks, who fired 51 shots on net. Antti Niemi made 22 saves for the win.
The Rangers are looking to build on their first victory of the campaign, a 3-1 decision over the Los Angeles Kings. It was also the first victory for new head coach Alain Vigneault.
Brad Richards scored a pair of goals and Ryan McDonagh gave the Rangers some breathing room with a strange short-handed goal in the third period.
After McDonagh cleared the puck down the ice, Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick came out to his left to play the puck, but dropped his stick in the process. He attempted to control the puck with his blocker, but instead saw the disc skip off his equipment and into the wide-open net.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped all but one of the 29 shots he faced after giving up four goals in a season-opening loss to the Coyotes last Thursday.
"I thought our guys did a good job of pressuring their defense, and because of that we created some turnovers that led to some grade-A scoring opportunities and we were able to capitalize on a couple," Vigneault said.
The Rangers are making their third stop on a season-opening nine-game road trip and are looking for a third straight win over the Sharks.
The Blueshirts are 7-2-0 with a tie in the past 10 meetings overall and have four victories and a tie in their last six at San Jose.