Brandon Dubinsky turned Henrik Lundqvist's goaltending heroics into two points.
Lundqvist made 31 saves through 65 minutes and five more in the shootout before Dubinsky's goal in the sixth round of the tiebreaker gave the New York Rangers a 3-2 victory at San Jose at HP Pavilion on Saturday night.
Dubinsky scored his first shootout goal in three tries by zipping a wrist shot through the legs of Antti Niemi, giving the Rangers two points that lifted them into seventh place in the East with 76, two ahead of Buffalo and four in front of ninth-place Carolina, both of whom lost earlier Saturday.
The Rangers hung on in the third period and overtime as the Sharks carried the play, only to be denied by Lundqvist every time.
In the shootout, Dan Boyle scored in the second round for the Sharks, but Wojtek Wolski got the Rangers even in the third. Lundqvist stopped three shooters and Niemi denied two before Dubinsky's winner.
It was a tough loss for the Sharks, who dropped their second shootout in two nights -- both in games where they had the better of the play through regulation and overtime.
"It's a little bit frustrating because I thought we played a hell of a third period," coach Todd McLellan said. "Two nights in a row where we only come away with one (point). I said it the other day -- it's a hard thing at this time of the year to play to play a hard-fought team game and have it settled with individuals. But it's a part of the game and a way to break the tie and the fans love it.”
It was a rebound win for the Rangers, who matched the Sharks' physicality throughout -- unlike their performance in Wednesday's 5-2 loss at Anaheim.
"I think we salvaged the trip," New York coach John Tortorella said. " It's a good answer. We still have things to work on. We played against a very good hockey club tonight and found a way to win.
"I thought we played the right way, the way we need to play. In the third period, we just couldn't stop their surge. We got caught on our heels a little bit. But the biggest key was that we wanted to play the right way, and I thought for most of the minutes, we did."
New York needed every bit of effort to pull out this win.
Ryane Clowe gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead 12:30 into the game by scoring a power-play goal. His slap shot from the right circle deflected off Rangers defenseman Marc Staal and got past Lundqvist's glove. Clowe tied his career high with his 22nd goal, matching his total in 2008-09.
Erik Christensen tied it at 16:57, firing Vinny Prospal's passout past Niemi's stick for his 10th of the season.
The Rangers went ahead 1:16 into the second period. After Clowe shattered his stick in a scramble for the puck, Michael Sauer sent a slap shot past Clowe's defenseless body and into the back of the net to put New York ahead 2-1. The Rangers almost grabbed a two-goal lead when Derek Stepan slipped the puck through Niemi's legs, but Justin Braun swiped the puck away just before it crossed the goal line.
The Sharks began to dominate play as the period went on and tied it at 16:26 when Ben Eager redirected Torrey Mitchell's shot past Lundqvist for his fifth of the season.
San Jose had the Rangers on their heels throughout the third period, outshooting New York 12-3, but Lundqvist was up to the task.
"We did a good job in the third period," Clowe said. "We generated a lot of opportunities, but we couldn't get one by Lundqvist."
Said Tortorella: "The first couple of periods I thought we were pretty good. They put us on our heels in the third period, where Hank played really strong for us, and right through the overtime and shootout."
The game was unusually physical for two teams that rarely meet. McLellan said that's the result of what's at stake with playoff berths on the line.
"I don't know if you're going to see the chippiness, but you're going to see the competitiveness, the battles. They play a physical, hard game along the boards and in the blue paint, and they don't let up. It was good for us to play in a game like that.
"It would have been nice to get that extra point, but we didn't."