The New York Rangers came into the 2022-23 season with a plethora of talent on all ends of the ice.
For the first time this season, talent wasn’t enough to win a hockey game.
New York was suffocated in the third period and Erik Karlsson buried home the game-winning goal 49 seconds into overtime to help the San Jose Sharks stun the home crowd Rangers to a 3-2 final.
“I was happy with the first two periods, but that third period, I have no idea where that came from. Embarrassing actually.” head coach Gerard Gallant said after the game.
New York and San Jose were tied at the end of two periods with the Rangers outshooting the Sharks by a 21-9 margin. The Blueshirts would tally just two additional shots in the third period, and none in overtime while San Jose pelted Igor Shesterkin with 18 shots in the final period.
An inability to stabilize the offensive zone or clear the puck ran rampant for the Rangers in the final period of action which ultimately led to the team’s downfall Thursday night.
It didn’t start that way though.
New York went on the attack early with three powerplay opportunities within the first 11 minutes of game action. The vaunted powerplay was shut down though by an aggressive, but smart Sharks penalty kill.
San Jose would shortly answer the Rangers’ second powerplay miss with a powerplay goal of their own when Logan Couture scored off a rebound on the first Shesterkin save.
In total, New York struggled as a group throughout each of their powerplays going 0-5 on the night.
“The whole first period was special teams. Had an opportunity to put our brand on the game, but had a few miscues…we had a couple looks but we needed to take what they gave us. Really showed us a different look and we didn’t respond how we liked.” Chris Kreider said after the game.
Gerard Gallant echoed Kreider’s comments later saying the powerplay unit, which came in scoring at an excellent 33% clip, became “frustrated” and “tried to make too many fancy plays.”
The Rangers wouldn’t be denied their offensive chances though. Two minutes into the second period, Filip Chytil would cause a key turnover which turned into a breakaway for the 23-year-old to tie the game at one.
“I won a battle on the wall and I saw the goalie had room under the stick so I shot there and it went in,” Chytil said describing the play after the game.
Chytil’s play woke up the raucous MSG crowd and the Rangers bench. Off another Sharks turnover, Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox ran a two-man transition game that ended with Panarin scoring his third goal of the year and giving New York a 2-1 lead.
The Sharks wouldn’t go quietly into the night though. Radim Simek scored his first goal of the season on a play in which he skated to the middle of the crease without much pressure from New York’s defense to tie the game at two.
The third period though ushered in an utter “collapse” to Gerard Gallant and his roster. After being outshot 18-2 in the third period, New York would not get a chance to move the puck in the offensive zone in the extra period when Karlsson ended the game.
The loss brought San Jose their first win of the season (1-5-0) while New York fell in their first chance in extra time to a (3-1-1) mark.
- Dryden Hunt, after being waived by the team on Wednesday, was picked up by the Colorado Avalanche. The move drops the Rangers roster to 22 players and the potential of adding $4 million in cap space by the trade deadline. It does also mean that New York had to part ways with an important depth piece to its puzzle. “Part of the business. Good for Hunt. Going to miss him.” Gallant said before the game.
- The Rangers gave former David Quinn was treated with a tribute on the video board but was quickly booed off by the hometown Ranger crowd. Quinn’s first win as the head coach of the San Jose Sharks now comes against his former team.
- Thursday night was just the second night New York failed to score on an extra-man advantage. The other time came in Winnipeg when the Jets gave the Rangers their first loss of the season 4-1.
- A major key for the Rangers’ downfall Thursday night was the inability to control the puck. San Jose won the face-off battle by a dominant 34-24 margin (58%-42%). It was the first time all season that New York lost a face-off battle by more than one win.