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Rangers Go for Second Straight Win Against Sharks at Garden

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

Rangers (2-5-2, 6 pts) vs. Sharks (3-4-0, 6 pts)
7 PM, Madison Square Garden
MSG Network; ESPN 98.7 FM

The Game

The Rangers' week of visits from the Western Conference continues Monday night when the San Jose Sharks visit Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts snapped its five-game winless streak Saturday afternoon with a 4-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. Four different Rangers scored, including Jesper Fast, Chris Kreider and Jimmy Vesey, all of whom netted their first tallies of the season.

Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves for his second win of the season.

The team's penalty kill went a perfect five-for-five against the Predators, with the power play scoring once on five chances.

The Sharks are in the middle of a five-game road trip through the Metro area before heading north to Boston and Buffalo. San Jose blanked the Devils on Friday night before being topped by the Islanders, 5-3, on Saturday. 

Logan Couture scored all three goals on Saturday and leads the club with eight points this season. Joe Thornton has six points through seven games and Joe Pavelski isn't far behind with four. Defenseman Brent Burns is off to a slow start by his standards with just four assists after posting 76 in 82 games on his way to the Norris Trophy last season.

In fact, no Sharks defender has a goal this season.

Martin Jones is expected to get the start after serving as the team's back up Saturday. He's 3-2 with a 2.64 GAA and a .915 SV% with one shutout in five starts thus far this season.

The Rangers have earned at least one point in five of their last six meetings against the Sharks dating back to Oct. 19, 2014 (4-1-1 during that span).

Players to Watch

Vigneault praised the work of Hayes' line with Vesey and Fast, and No. 13 has been at the forefront. Hayes is making things happen offensively with two goals and three points in his last two games, including the game-winner on Saturday. Hayes was a key component of Saturday's strong penalty kill, as he logged 2:51 with the Rangers down a man.

With the parting of ways with Patrick Marleau this summer and Thornton back on just a one-year contract, it's a bit of a changing of the guard in San Jose, and Couture is at the center of it. The 28-year-old is coming off a strong season that saw him score 52 points in 73 games, including 25 goals. As stated, he's coming off a hat trick on Saturday, two games after scoring twice against the Canadiens to give him five goals in three games.

Say What?

"Just take care of business and it will be enough, you don't have to do too much. But this was coming. We've had a couple of games now where we've been close and it was just a matter of time. Finally, we get the two points here, take a deep breath and then we go after another two points on Monday." - Henrik Lundqvist following Saturday's victory over Nashville

Rangers Projected Lineup

Rick Nash - Mika Zibanejad - Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey - Kevin Hayes - Jesper Fast

Chris Kreider - David Desharnais - J.T. Miller

Michael Grabner - Pavel Buchnevich

Ryan McDonagh - Brendan Smith

Marc Staal - Kevin Shattenkirk

Brady Skjei - Nick Holden/ Tony DeAngelo

Inside the Numbers

The Rangers earned their first win against a Western Conference opponent this season on Oct. 21 vs. Nashville. New York posted an 11-2-1 record against Pacific Division opponents last season, including a 6-1-0 record against Pacific Division opponents at MSG.

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