Sharks overwhelmed by Rangers in second period, lose 5-2

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 31: Artem Anisimov #42 of the New York Rangers is congratulated by his teammate Erik Christensen #40 for his goal in the second period as goalkeeper Antti Niemi #31 of the San Jose Sharks looks away at Madison Square Garden on October 31, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

With a five game winning streak in hand, and a perfect record on their road trip thus far, the Sharks came into Madison Square Garden looking for a handful of jumbo sized candy and enough treats to last them until mid-November.

They left with apples, bananas, and dental floss.

The Rangers scored three unanswered goals in the second period, and Martin Biron made 24 saves, to hold off a Sharks bid to go perfect on their eastern swing. According to CSN's Kevin Kurz, Joe Thornton felt like the Sharks let one get away.

"To be honest, they were probably the softest team we played against on this road trip, and we should have had these two points," Thornton said to Kurz and the assembled media following the game. "We played some good teams, and I think we probably should have beat these guys to be honest with you."

New York jumped on the board early against San Jose after Ryan Callahan, working from behind the net, found Ryan McDonagh high in the zone for a one-time that he rifled into the far-side corner. They would get another late in the period after Martin Havlat took an interference penalty to put the 26th ranked Sharks penalty kill out on the ice. Coming off an innocent looking rush Brent Burns' ill-advised attack of the puck carrier sprung New York into the zone with numbers where Derek Stepan corralled a feed from Brandon Dubinsky into the back of the net, giving the Rangers a two-goal lead.

It wouldn't last long however, as Joe Pavelski continued his goal scoring ways and pounced on a rebound off the post to slide one past Biron. San Jose would struggle at the start of the second period as New York poured on the pressure in the defensive zone, but some good saves by Niemi kept the Sharks within striking distance. Pavelski would connect with Logan Couture at the midway point of the period, sending a perfect pass right into the wheelhouse of a primed Couture. Seamlessly receiving the feed, Couture one-timed an absolute laser top-shelf shortside to cut the Rangers down to size and bring back the fresh memories of a blown lead against the Ottawa Senators. Credit the Sharks top line for wearing down the Rangers group and forcing a bad change that led to the open ice available for Couture to unleash his howitzer.

With another blown lead on the horizon for New York, you could almost feel Larry Brooks of the New York Post readying his questions for John Tortorella from the press box. Youtube viewers around the world were done a disservice tonight however, as the Rangers would proceed to pour it on late in the second and notch a trio of tallies in the span of 5:12.

An excellent cross-crease feed from Erik Christensen found Ryan Callahan's tape just as a power play expired, giving New York their second lead of the game. The Rangers would continue to pour it on late in the second period, as Artem Anisimov would knife through the Sharks defense and roof a backhand shot to extend the lead to two. Ryan Callahan would come on again with 48 seconds left in the frame, pouncing on a loose rebound on the far-side of the crease and banging it home to give the Rangers a three goal lead headed into intermission.

San Jose's power play would go 0 for 3 in the third period to seal their fate.

Other assorted thoughts:

  • The penalty kill has continued its struggles from last season and is currently 26th in the League. Tonight hey gave up a marker in the first and another even strength goal that came one second after the man advantage expired (Colin White may have not even exited the box when the goal occurred). Health isn't an issue for the revamped kill-- all notable PK'ers are reporting for duty, and no one outside of Desjardins has been dropped from the unit. Needless to say, this needs improvement.
  • After the Sharks first game, they have received only two goals from their bottom six-- Michal Handzus against St. Louis on October 15th, and Benn Ferriero against Boston on October 22nd. Furthermore, only one defensive pairing (Burns with 3, Vlasic with 1) has managed to find twine from the backend. Considering we've just finished the first month of the season this shouldn't be something that requires any rash moves, but make sure to keep an eye on scoring depth as the season progresses.
  • Benn Ferriero and Justin Braun were scratched tonight for the second straight game. Demers and White both looked off tonight, and the scoring depth issue has been addressed above, but with the team headed back to San Jose I wouldn't be surprised to see both Braun and Ferriero sent down to Worcester.
  • Another reason as to why Ferriero may be sent down? According to CapGeek, if Ferriero plays another game at the NHL level he would have to pass through waivers in order to be assigned to Worcester.
  • A 5-1 record on a difficult road trip out east should have the Sharks back on track, and credit to the team for winning some big games in every manner possible. Despite the loss tonight this road trip was a massive success and should set the Sharks up for a big six homestand.
  • Pavelski obviously was the player of the road trip, but Niemi played extremely well in net and Vlasic was the best blueliner by a country mile.
  • Off to watch "Peep Show", which has valiantly fought to unsurp Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm as the funniest TV show in existence. Enjoy your Halloween folks, and remember that toilet papering a bald guy's house is in fact a hate crime.
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