The New York Rangers (3-1-0) rebounded from their 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 14 with a 6-4 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 17. Artemi Panarin (one goal, three assists) and Mika Zibanejad (two goals, two assists) continued their hot starts to the 2022-23 season in their latest game. Zibanejad has three power-play goals (PPGs), two assists, and a short-handed goal (SHG) on special teams through four games. Heading into the contest versus the San Jose Sharks (0-5-0), Panarin leads the NHL with eight assists and 10 points.
The Sharks are one of three clubs along with the Minnesota Wild and the Vancouver Canucks, that are still looking for their first wins of the year. They have struggled offensively with no more than two goals in any of their games so far. Here’s our gameday preview.
New York Rangers Projected Lineup
Chris Kreider – Zibanejad – Kaapo Kakko
Panarin – Vincent Trocheck – Alexis Lafreniere
Sammy Blais – Filip Chytil – Barclay Goodrow
Jimmy Vesey – Ryan Carpenter – Ryan Reaves
Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller – Jacob Trouba
Zac Jones – Braden Schneider
Igor Shesterkin – Jaroslav Halak
Carpenter Due to Return, Kravtsov’s Status, Hunt Placed on Waivers
Ryan Carpenter will be back for the Rangers after recovering from a laceration he sustained during the Jets game. He returned to practice on Oct. 19 and has been cleared to compete by their medical staff. Based on the lines during practice, look for the fourth line to feature him at center with Jimmy Vesey and Ryan Reaves at the wing positions.
Vitali Kravtsov has been cleared for contact as well but with the Rangers’ roster back to full strength, there is not an opening for him to play in the lineup. The defensive abilities of players such as Carpenter, Vesey, and Reaves make it unlikely the fourth line will be altered, and with the return of Sammy Blais, there is no longer an available spot on the first three lines. He may be sent down to their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, so he can keep playing.
The Rangers placed Dryden Hunt on waivers on Oct. 19 after their most recent practice to create more cap space. If he is not claimed by another NHL team, he will be sent down to the Wolf Pack. He rotated on the fourth line during the Oct. 19 practice and as is the case with Kravtsov, there is not an opening for him in the lineup right now.
San Jose Sharks Projected Lineup
Timo Meier – Tomas Hertl – Alexander Barbanov
Nick Bonino – Logan Couture – Luke Kunin
Jonah Gadjovich – Nico Sturm – Evgeny Svechnikov
Matthew Nieto– Steven Lorentz- Oskar Lindblom
Jaycob Megna – Erik Karlsson
Scott Harrington – Matt Benning/Marc-Eduardo Vlasic
Mario Ferraro – Radim Simek
James Reimer – Kaapo Kahkonen
Sturm Speaks After Sharks’ Loss, Quinn Returns to Madison Square Garden
The Sharks have lost five contests to open the season, and are in desperation mode to start winning to prevent their season from spiraling out of control during the first few weeks of 2022-23. Nico Sturm’s line played well during the 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Oct. 18 and Sturm commented after the latest defeat on their struggles, “The biggest thing is that we haven’t played a 60-minute hockey game. I think today and the Chicago game, the first 20 minutes were great. And then in the second period, we drop off. They’re not gonna give it to us. We can’t expect it that they’re gonna give it to us. And that’s how we play right now.”
Sharks head coach David Quinn will be back at Madison Square Garden after coaching them for three seasons – beginning in 2018-19 until the end of 2020-21. Before being named to his current head coaching role, he coached the United States men’s hockey team during the 2022 Winter Olympics.
After his hiring during the offseason, he reflected upon his previous NHL head coaching position, and the criticism he faced with how he played the younger players such as Lafreniere and Kakko. “There were things I wish I had done differently. I thought I got away from being who I have been for 28 years as a coach… I’ve got moments that I’m proud of and moments that I regret. You wish you had some do-overs, that’s for sure. I think if you want people to be better you have to be demanding but fair. When you have 18, 19-year-old players set in their ways, things that they’ve done to get to this point aren’t necessarily what they need to do to continue to have success.”
Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant credits Quinn with his development of the young players that remain with the franchise, “He did a good job with them. I got them, they weren’t close to being a finished product but they’re improving every year and that’s what you want. It takes time, but last year they made big strides with our team.”
Players To Watch
New York Rangers – Vincent Trocheck
The Rangers’ primary addition during the offseason is off to a good start with his new franchise as he has two goals and three assists in four games including points in three consecutive contests. He has benefited from playing with one of the league’s best playmakers in Panarin and has done well as their second-line center after they lost Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp during the offseason.
San Jose Sharks – Nico Sturm
Sturm will continue to do his part to help the Sharks break their five-game losing streak. He and his linemate, Svechnikov, are tied for the team lead with two goals and they will aim to continue to play well for them against the Rangers. The team will look for an offensive breakout to snap their goal-scoring struggles in the early portion of 2022-23.