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Rangers gunning for eighth straight win

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SHARKS (4-3-1) at RANGERS (7-1-0)

Season Series: This is the only meeting of the season between the Sharks and Rangers. San Jose won the lone meeting last season, 3-2, at HP Pavilion. The Sharks are 5-17-3-1 all time against the Rangers.

Big Story: Will the Rangers lose again? We're pretty sure they will, but when? The Sharks will try to put an end to the Rangers seven-game winning streak, their longest since the 2005-06 season. The Rangers haven't had this good of a start in a quarter century.

Team Scope:

Sharks: Nothing like heading to Nassau Coliseum to cure what ails you. The Sharks figured things out in a 4-1 win over the Islanders on Saturday night after a sub-par effort in a 4-1 loss at Washington two nights earlier. Evgeni Nabokov has been the most consistent Shark all season and he was excellent in stopping 31 of 32 shots. The Sharks power play, which had been struggling, went 2-for-3.

Rangers: There isn't a team playing better in the NHL. The Rangers have won seven straight in a dominating fashion. Four of their wins are by three or more goals, including 7-2 over Toronto a week ago. They have also won a pair of one-goal games and beat L.A. by a 4-2 margin. They are scoring four goals per game while giving up less than two.

Who's Hot: Joe Thornton had a three-point night with a goal and two assists against the Islanders, giving him 13 points, which is third in the NHL. Patrick Marleau scored his team-high sixth goal. Rookie defenseman Jason Demers has been a pleasant surprise with four assists and a plus-3 rating.

Marian Gaborik is off to one of his best starts ever. The new Ranger has 12 points on six goals and six assists. He has at least one point in all eight games, his longest point-streak to start a season. It's his best start since 2002-03, when he had 13 points through eight games for Minnesota. Vinny Prospal has a point in seven straight games (3-8-11).

Injury Report: The Sharks are without Torrey Mitchell (knee) and Joe Pavelski (foot). The Rangers are healthy.

Stat Pack: The Rangers defense corps leads the NHL with nine goals combined and rookie blue-liner Michael Del Zotto leads all first-year players with eight points. … Sharks wing Ryane Clowe, who had 52 points last season, registered his first point, an assist, in Saturday's win over the Islanders. … After scoring 10 points in the first four games, Sharks wing Dany Heatley is pointless in the last three. … The Sharks last won at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 22, 2001. That was the night former Ranger great Adam Graves got his first point as a Shark following an emotional pre-game tribute. San Jose has only played at the Garden twice since.

Puck Drop: Even though the Rangers are off to a great start, coach John Tortorella isn't letting it go to any of his players' heads. He was disappointed in part of the effort (six penalties) Saturday night and wants to nip it in the bud now.

"I think we've lost our concentration as far as our battles and turning our back on the puck," Tortorella told The Bergen Record. "We talked about it between the second and third periods. We're teetering on going the wrong way here."

-- Dan Rosen,

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