NEW YORK -- Left wing Chris Kreider continued his torrid start to the season and rookie left wing Jimmy Vesey's first career NHL goal turned into the game-winner in the New York Rangers' 7-4 win against the San Jose Sharks at Madison Square Garden on Monday.
Kreider had his third straight game with a goal and an assist, giving him three of each in the first three games.
Vesey's first career goal came at 12:37 of the third period to put the Rangers up 5-2. It came 21 seconds after center Kevin Hayes scored and it became the game-winning goal because of back-to-back goals by Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (13:57) and forward Joe Pavelski (15:31).
Vesey, last season's Hobey Baker Award winner out of Harvard University who signed with the Rangers as an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 20, got a standing ovation when the goal was announced.
Right wing Mats Zuccarello and left wing Michael Grabner scored empty-net goals to seal the win for the Rangers (2-1-0), giving the Sharks their first loss of the season (2-1-0).
"Definitely just pure joy," Vesey said of his goal. "I think I expressed it a little on the ice. I think I gave two fist pumps."
Rangers goalie Antti Raanta made 27 saves in his first start. Zuccarello had three points on a goal and two assists. Defenseman Marc Staal and forwards Rick Nash and Hayes scored their first goals, and captain Ryan McDonagh and center Derek Stepan had two assists.
Video: SJS@NYR: Nash punches in rebound off the boards
Sharks goalie Martin Jones made 22 saves.
Burns scored twice in the third period to give him three goals for the season. He also had an assist on Pavelski's goal. Pavelski had three assists for a four-point game. Center Logan Couture scored a 5-on-3 goal at 19:02 of the first period.
"They're the Stanley Cup finalist and they had one of the best road records last year, so we knew they were going to have a push; made it an exciting game," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.
"Unfortunately they got a couple good opportunities in the third, but other than that I thought we played a real solid game."
Kreider extended New York's lead to 3-1 with a power-play goal at 10:21 of the second. Burns scored at 9:13 of the third period to slice the deficit to 3-2, setting off a stretch that featured seven goals in the final 10:47 of the game.
"We got what we deserved," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "You have to win all kinds of different ways. It would have been nice to pick up some points and stick around, but I think the team that competed the hardest won, and that's the way it should be."
Video: SJS@NYR: Burns rips wrister top shelf from the slot
Goal of the game
Kreider's third goal in as many games was a beauty. He stayed onside and in stride while collecting the diagonal cross-ice pass from McDonagh off the left-wing wall. He gained a step on Sharks forward Tomas Hertl and kept his speed going through the left circle, shooting before defenseman Justin Braun could close on him. Kreider's shot ricocheted off of Jones' right shoulder and went into the net. He started his celebration by inadvertently hugging referee Tom Kowal.
Video: SJS@NYR: Kreider wrists in PPG from left circle
Save of the game
Jones didn't allow the Rangers to complete what was a pretty looking 2-on-1 with center Mika Zibanejad and Kreider. Instead, he went post-to-post to stop Zibanejad's shot with his left pad at 1:19 of the second period, when the game was still tied at 1-1.
Video: SJS@NYR: Jones makes nice stop on two-on-one break
Highlight of the game
Vesey's first career goal came off of a turnover. Zuccarello stripped the puck from Sharks center Chris Tierney and got it to Stepan, who quickly found Vesey going to the net for a tap-in from the slot. Vesey said he would give the puck to his dad so he could put it in a special place in their house.
Video: SJS@NYR: Vesey nets Stepan's feed for first NHL goal
Unsung moment of the game
Vesey didn't get a point on Staal's goal in the first period, but his work behind the net helped make it happen. He had the puck and lost it when he was hit in the back by Burns. He stayed with the play, got the puck back while still behind the net, and moved it up to Zuccarello to help set up the play that led to Staal scoring on a one-timer from inside the right point.
Video: SJS@NYR: Staal rips one-timer past Jones
They said it
"I just like the fact that we've already in a quick three games here identified what works for us. Some teams, it may take a little longer and for us we're getting chemistry fast within our lines and our 'D' pairs are understanding what makes us successful. It's a good sign right off the bat here in three games that we know what it takes for our team to get a good chance to win." -- Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh
"We thought we could get the momentum, get our legs going, find our game. We were just a step slow." -- Sharks captain Joe Pavelski
Need to know
With another goal and an assist, Kreider became the first Rangers player with at least six points in the first three games of a season since Hall of Fame defenseman Brian Leetch in 1992-93. He is the first Rangers player to have three multi-point games in the first three games of the season since Bernie Nicholls in 1990-91. He has scored in a career-high three straight games. ... The Sharks have scored a power-play goal in each of their first three games (3-for-12). They've also allowed power-play goals in each game and are 3-for-6 on the penalty kill.
Sharks: At the New York Islanders on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, CSN-CA, NHL.TV).
Rangers: Home against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV).
Video: Vesey's first goal helps Rangers top Sharks, 7-4