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Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin kicks out Sharks in return for training


Igor Shesterkin made 37 saves on his return from COVID-19, Braden Schneider scored on his NHL debut and the New York Rangers beat the San Jose Sharks 3-0 on Thursday night.

“A lot of the credit goes to Shesterkin,” said interim Rangers coach Kris Knoblauch. “There were a lot of Grade A scoring chances and he made some big saves.”

Chris Kreider scored his first career shorthanded goal and an empty net to reach 200 goals as the Rangers followed a 1-0 win over the Sharks at Madison Square Garden on December 3 with another shutout less than six weeks plus late.

Adin Hill stopped 27 shots for the Sharks, who failed in their attempt to tie a four-game winning streak. San Jose has lost seven straight games to the Rangers.

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New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin, left, defends a shot attempt against San Jose Sharks center Jasper Weatherby (26) during the first period of an NHL hockey game at San Jose, Calif., Thursday, January 13, 2022.
(AP Photo / Jeff Chiu)

“We have to score to win,” said coach Bob Boughner. “Tonight I thought we played a good game. I didn’t think we shot each other in the foot or got dominated. We fought hard and the difference I think was to give up. a shorty.… We fought hard, we just couldn’t, ‘I didn’t find offense. It wasn’t for lack of trying.

Shesterkin was activated from the COVID-19 roster earlier today and was keen in his first move since Jan. 2, when he netted a 38-save shutout against Tampa Bay.

He stopped Andrew Cogliano on a breakaway in the second period, then made another big save late in the period on a deviation from Tomas Hertl.

“In the first half I was a little nervous,” said Shesterkin. “But when I stopped a few shots, the nerves died out.”

Shesterkin made 19 saves in his first meeting with the Sharks before leaving early in the third period with a lower body injury.

“Shesterkin is really, really good,” said Sharks forward Nick Bonino. “Shut us up twice this year. We had category A looks but it was never taken out of position.”

Kreider gave the Rangers the lead in the first period when he converted just seconds after Ryan Strome made it to the penalty bench for a crosscheck.

Mika Zibanejad won the ensuing face-off, setting off a quick run. Zibanejad then fed Kreider, who scored the first shorthanded goal of his 10-year career. Kreider had been used sparingly throughout his career until he took on a regular role in the unit this season.

“I’ve wanted this one for a while,” Kreider said. “I pretty much screwed it up.”

It was San Jose’s sixth shorthanded goal this season, tied for most in the NHL.

Schneider, 20, drafted 19th overall in 2020 after New York traded him, added insurance early in the third when Strome put him in the top bracket.

“I was in the right place at the right time and I couldn’t have written it better myself,” said Schneider.

Schneider became the seventh Rangers defenseman to score a goal in his NHL debut and the first since Thomas Pock against Pittsburgh on March 23, 2004.

BAD BLOOD

Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba struggled with the Sharks in the second period. First, he and Timo Meier took turns shooting each other before being coincidentally juvenile deported.

Then, shortly after Trouba came out of the penalty area, he got into a fight with Jeffrey Viel and came back five more minutes.

WHO IS IN, WHO IS OUTSIDE?

Rangers announced ahead of the game that forward Alexis Lafrenière has entered COVID-19 protocol and Lauri Pajuniemi has been added to the roster.

The Sharks are also down from a forward after Alexander Barabanov tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed on protocol, but San Jose picked up another.

Rudolfs Balcers, who had missed the past six weeks with a lower body injury, returned to the lineup for the first time since being injured in New York against the Rangers on December 3.

FOLLOWING

Rangers: Visit the Philadelphia Flyers in the final of a five-game road trip on Saturday night.

Sharks: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.


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