A disastrous six-game homestand for the New York Rangers got worse on Monday night in a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of the San Jose Sharks.
The Blueshirts are now 1-3-1 through the first five games of their stay at Madison Square Garden as they stay rooted to the bottom of the Metropolitan Division standings. Their final game at home is on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes.
Sharks goalie Martin Jones was the star of the night, turning away 33 of 34 Rangers shots.
Early goals have plagued the Rangers this season and Monday night was no different. Just 1:06 into the game on a delayed penalty on JT Miller, Logan Couture snapped home a quick wrister from the point that went through goalie Henrik Lundqvist Lundqvist.
When we’re in the position we’re in - when we start the game chasing - it’s just so much harder," Lundqvist said. "We’re trying to come out prepared and it’s a nothing play really, it’s a shot but it hits our guy and it’s in, and after that, it’s uphill."
Couture, who was fresh off a hat-trick against the Islanders, had accounted for San Jose's last four goals, which came on his last four shots. Even more impressive, he had six goals on his previous eight shots.
After killing off a pair of Rangers power plays, the Sharks doubled their lead with 7:15 left in the first when defenseman Tim Heed took a tough-angled shot to the left of Lundqvist that somehow squeezed through.
New York would have another two power plays that overlapped into a 5-on-3, yet they were still unable to get past Jones in the first despite outshooting San Jose 16-8.
The ample opportunities kept coming as the Rangers grabbed another two power plays in the second period and continued to apply pressure, but Jones was up for the task in dominant fashion. They would go 0-for-6 with the man advantage on the night.
"That was definitely a big part of it. I liked our power play in the first period," Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "It was moving the puck, we got some opportunities, their guys came up with some big plays, but then you get behind and then in the second period our execution, especially on the breakouts, went away. It was not nearly good enough."
With 37.1 seconds to go, Sharks defenseman Joonas Donskoi dealt a demoralizing blow to the pressing Rangers when he came down the left wing and snapped a wrister over the shoulder of Lundqvist to make it 3-0 heading into the third.
Lundqvist got caught out of his net to set up San Jose's fourth of the night when the puck was stolen from him by Couture while he was attempting to play it out behind the net. Couture threw it in front for Melker Karlsson, who was able to chop it into the back of the net.
Mika Zibanejad finally beat Jones 1:32 after Karlsson's tally when he snapped one of his patented wicked wristers through the San Jose goalie, but it wasn't nearly enough as frustration continues to set in.
"It’s just frustrating mentally. We had the puck a lot tonight, a lot in the O-zone, a lot of moving parts, guys moving around but at some point there you’ve got to just throw some pucks towards the net," Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said. "Throw some bad angle shots, you never know what can happen, what can it hit and just kind of create some chaos a little bit. We’ve talked about creating chaos by moving but at the same time you can put a simple shot on net and a rebound and get guys out of position that way too. We probably should’ve thrown more pucks at them from bad angles. They did a good job keeping us to the perimeter but at the same time you’ve got to put something on the inside there.”