The New York Rangers put an end to their three-game losing streak with a big win over the San Jose Sharks on Monday night. The Rangers bested the Sharks 4-0, establishing strong forechecking and support in all zones early on.
The change was welcomed by Rangers fans, who were happy to see the team’s sense of urgency, cohesiveness and high energy return to their game play.
“We had more energy in the room going into the game,” Rangers assistant captain Marc Staal said, “It felt like everyone was committed to turning the tides a little bit. The way we were playing, we weren’t happy with it. A team like San Jose, as well as they’re playing, coming in here and challenging us, I thought we did a good job of raising our level of play.”
The Rangers were last season’s President Trophy winners, finishing the year with 113 points. The team was not about to allow themselves to slip into mediocrity so early in the new season.
The Rangers swarmed the Sharks early on, turning up the pressure in the offensive zone. Marc Staal opened up the scoring halfway through the first period. Mats Zuccarello added to the score midway through the second.
Jesper Fast scored early on in the third, making the score 3-0 and essentially sealing the deal. Finally, Viktor Stalberg had the last say, scoring a goal with just over three minutes remaining.
The team played great defensively, limiting the Sharks chances on net. They allowed their goaltender to see the puck well, and played a very controlled game.
“There weren’t any 2-on-1s like we had [been giving up],” Antti Raanta told reporters, “[W]hen everybody is behind the puck and when we lost the puck in the offensive zone there were always three guys coming back and the fourth and fifth forward were also coming back. That was really good today.”
New goaltender Antti Raanta impressed fans by allowing no goals on all 22 shots last night. This was his fourth career shutout in 40 NHL games. The netminder was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in June.
The Rangers penalty kill squad also deserves some recognition. They only allowed one shot on goal in the 3:39 when they were shorthanded in the game. Over the past three games, the penalty kill is 10-for-10.
Rangers fans can only hope that the renewed energy in their beloved team is a sign of things to come.