Will Cuylle hadn’t scored in 10 games, but Peter Laviolette never saw the rookie winger’s effort level flag.
Cuylle’s first goal since November 7 was huge, ending a 3-3 second-period tie to give the Rangers a lead they would not relinquish in what turned out to be a 6- 5 against the Sharks at the Garden. .
“Young player and he gives everything he has every night,” Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said of Cuylle after the game. “He’s physical and I think he’s off to a good start. He’s learning, but he’s off to a good start, and tonight he had a great moment.
“I think his efforts have been consistent. I think he’s a young kid that carries himself well and plays hard, he’s fast, he’s physical, he hits, he goes in front of the net and he’s a really coachable kid. So it was nice to see him score a big goal like that.
Cuylle, 21, took a pass from Nick Bonino and split San Jose’s defense at the blue line and scored his fourth of the season to make it 4-3 with 3:57 left in the second.
Veteran backup Jonathan Quick allowed five goals on 28 shots, but went undefeated in regulation in his first season with the Blueshirts. He improved to 7-0-1 in nine appearances despite his goals-against average increasing from 1.99 to 2.34.
Vincent Trocheck’s statistical contribution this season goes well beyond his excellent offensive numbers.
The veteran center leads the NHL in faceoff percentage at 64.1 percent after winning 15 of 24 against the Sharks.
“I think faceoffs are possession and the fact that our centers have done a pretty good job in the circle, that’s something we’ve emphasized from the beginning of the year. And it gets attention every day,” Laviolette said. “I think our guys have done a good job with that, and Troche, I think, is someone who has always been above average in the faceoff circle initially. (he) is definitely having a good year there.
Trocheck, who plays center on the Rangers’ second line with Filip Chytil out of the lineup since Nov. 2 due to a suspected concussion, also ranks third on the team with six goals and 16 assists after recording five points from two victories this weekend. against the Predators and Sharks.
The Rangers recalled winger Anton Blidh from AHL Hartford as roster insurance because Laviolette said his team was “a little bit improved” after Saturday’s game in Nashville. Blidh, 28, took part in pre-match warm-ups, but the same 12 forwards dressed against the Sharks.