San Jose Sharks (3-0-1) at New York Rangers (2-3-0)
|Date & Time||Sunday October 19, 2014, 5:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: New York Rangers -105 / San Jose Sharks -105 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The New York Rangers have gotten off to a much slower start to the season than they would have hoped for. Thursday night’s victory over the Carolina Hurricanes was a much-needed one, but it didn’t do anything to quell concerns over their recent play. Head coach Alain Vigneault hasn’t been able to find consistent line combinations with top center Derek Stepan sidelined to start the year, and the defense group and goaltending that has been so reliable over the last half decade have been anything but through five games. Thursday night the Rangers were outplayed in their own building by a Hurricanes club that has yet to win a game this year. Trailing 1-0 in the third period it was Derick Brassard who was able to redirect a point shot from Dan Girardi that evened things up for the Rangers and got the team into over time. After a scoreless extra session it was Rick Nash who buried the game winner to lift New York to the 2-1 win. Nash has been the best player for the Rangers this season, scoring six goals through the first five games of the year. Nash’s play is reason for excitement but the Rangers need to just stay above water until Stepan gets back in another four or five games. Henrik Lundqvist played much better against the Hurricanes, stopping 29 of the 30 shots he face and all three in the shootout to bounce back from two terrible performances in which he allowed 12 total goals. The Rangers should be fine in the long run but right now they just aren’t playing consistent hockey. They’ll at least get to face a San Jose club that will be playing their third game in four nights and second of a back-to-back. New York needs to find a way to exploit that.
Things haven’t been as difficult for the San Jose Sharks this season. San Jose has yet to lose in regulation, improving their record to 4-0-1 through their first five games after a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night. Joe Pavelski’s late goal in the opening period gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead and late in the second period it was Logan Couture scoring his first goal of the season on the power play to double the Sharks advantage. Antti Niemi allowed a goal in the third period with New Jersey scoring off the rush, but things still seemed to be in control until the Devils cut the lead to one off a deflection goal from Michael Ryder. San Jose was able to hold on for the win and after a tumultuous off season the Sharks are off to a great start. Of course, anybody who follows the National Hockey League knows that the only thing that matters for the Sharks is the post season. Sunday night will be a good challenge for the Sharks because they’ll be taking on a club that went to the Stanley Cup Finals last season and they’re going to have to really overcome being worn down physically after a three games in four nights stretch. Alex Stalock will most likely get the start but he’s more than capable of leading the Sharks to a victory.
The Rangers have had a lot of trouble scoring this season and when you add in the fact that San Jose will be playing their third game in four nights this one sets up to be a low scoring affair.