The New York Rangers look to bounce back into the win column at the expense of the San Jose Sharks, who are riding a three-game winning streak into Thursday’s inter-conference showdown. And, interestingly, BetUS sportsbook is in fact tailing the Rangers to win outright.
- Game: New York Rangers (23-10-4) at San Jose Sharks (0-0)
- Location: SAP Arena, San Jose
- Day/Time: Thursday, January 13, 2022, 10:30 p.m. ET
- Television: ESPN
New York Rangers at San Jose Sharks
Rangers To Rebound
The New York Rangers are three games into a five-game road stretch and have a 1-2 record. Sandwiched between losses to the Vegas Golden Knights (5-1) and the Los Angeles Kings (3-1) is the lone bright spot on their travels so far – a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, January 8.
The Rangers went into Monday’s game against the Kings as the slight underdogs, but the game wasn’t even as close as the NHL odds had it. In this unpredictable covid world, things can turn on a dime.
The Rangers welcomed back Artemi Panarin after a four-game absence but would be without goaltender Igor Shesterkin again. Shesterkin missed his third-straight game with COVID-19. Backup Alexander Georgiev stepped in for Shesterkin. The Bulgarian went into the game with a 7-4-2 record that included a run of four straight games conceding just one goal.
The biggest blow, however, came when the Rangers lost head coach Gerard Gallant and Barclay Goodrow in one fell swoop to the growing covid-19 list.
AHL coach Kris Knoblauch was called up as a last-minute coaching replacement, having done a stint with the Rangers last season when David Quinn was out due to COVID-19. Knoblauch went 4-2 behind the bench in the NHL, but Monday’s game was arguably too short of a notice for the second-tier head coach.
The Rangers started valiantly, but things went awry fast in the second period. Two goals came in quick succession to lift the hosts to the 2-0 lead before Mika Zibanejad finally got New York on the scoreboard. It was Zibanejad’s eighth goal in the last nine games.
The perfect deflection. 👌 pic.twitter.com/ucxpFkUQE9
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 11, 2022
In the third frame, the Rangers failed to build on the momentum. Knoblauch pulled Georgiev for the extra-man advantage, but the Kings scored an empty-net goal to ice the game.
Sharks Have Won Three Straight
The San Jose Sharks appear to have hit their stride of late, reeling off three straight wins to improve to a 20-16-1 record. Most recently, the Sharks are coming off a 3-2 win over the Red Wings in overtime..
San Jose was down several key players for the game, but they persevered to come through as the small home chalk in betting online markets. Logan Couture, who made his belated return to the lineup after a five-day absence for covid-19, scored the game-winner in overtime. Timo Meier and Jeffrey Viel each scored a goal in regulation time.
The Sharks were down 2-1 in the third period after Nick Leddy scored for the Red Wings. But less than two minutes later, the Sharks equalized when Viel muscled his way past Alex Nedeljkovic.
The victory marked the first three-game winning streak for the Sharks in five weeks, going back to the end of November when they beat the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, and New York Islanders. Ironically, a 1-0 loss to the Rangers ended that positive stretch of form on Friday, December 3.
Rangers Look to Even Road Swing
This is the second and final meeting between the New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks this season. The Rangers have the 1-0 head-to-head edge, but the Sharks have home advantage this time around.
Offensively, there doesn’t appear to be an advantage either way. The Rangers are averaging 2.84 goals per game while the Sharks are averaging 2.81 goals per game.
The defense, though, tips the scale toward the Rangers who are inside the top five in goals allowed (2.51) and sixth overall with .921 save percentage. The Sharks are 20th in goals allowed (3.05) and 16th in save percentage (.911).
Both sides are facing their fair share of injury woes and covid-19 cases. Losing coach Gallant probably tips the balance against the Rangers on this score, but it remains to be seen how the Rangers respond to Knoblauch now that he’s had a little bit more time with the team. It’s not like it’s his first rodeo, after all.
All told, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding this game that makes it a bit of a coin toss. But the Rangers have several key advantages, including defense, special teams and a backup netminder that has stepped up in recent weeks.
Betting the Rangers at -115 on the moneyline is probably the best option in light of the uncertainty. For those that are feeling bolder about this matchup, the Rangers at -1½ (+190) on the puck line is worth the tickle for NHL picks.