The New York Rangers have snapped their three game losing streak, and defeated the San Jose Sharks tonight by a final score of 4-0. Antti Raanta, who appeared in his first regular season game tonight with the Rangers, was credited with his fourth career shutout after turning away 22 shots against. Goaltending certainly hasn't been a weakness thus far for the Rangers, and Raanta's strong performance tonight help strengthen that notion.
It took the Rangers a few minutes to get their feet going in this one, but once they did, the Sharks had trouble containing them in the offensive zone. At the 10:36 mark of the first period, the Rangers broke the scoreless tie as Marc Staal converted on a wrist shot through traffic. Jesper Fast also played a large part in this goal by setting up the screen in front of Martin Jones', which allowed Staal's shot to pass through undetected.
Speaking of traffic in front, the Rangers made a point in getting bodies to the net tonight, which played a large part in two of the four goals this evening. Much like the first goal, the Rangers put traffic in front of Martin Jones, and they widened their lead to 2-0 at the 9:28 mark of the second period. This time around it was Rick Nash posting up in front of the net, and Mats Zuccarello tossed a low shot on net that ticked off the post and in.
It was also a power play goal, something the Rangers have gone without during their three game losing streak, and it came off of a very simple play. When a power play is struggling, the best way to jump start it is getting traffic in front and firing shots on net. The Rangers did exactly that on their second goal, and it resulted in a goal just 26 seconds into the man-advantage.
Coming out of the intermission, the Rangers continued to pressure the Sharks and added a third goal coming off a quick transition rush by Jesper Fast. Chris Kreider started the entire play with a beautiful bank pass off the boards, and sprung Jesper Fast in on a partial breakaway. With Fast getting pressure from Brenden Dillion, Fast attempted to make a power move to his backhand, but the puck was poked away by Jones.
However, the puck wound up deflecting under Jones' pad and slipped over the goal line to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead. About 13 minutes after Fast extended the Rangers lead to 3-0, Viktor Stalberg came away with his first goal as a Ranger and closed out the scoring in this game. Stalberg put his speed and power on full display after taking on two Sharks' defensemen and chipped the puck through Jones' five-hole to make it 4-0 Rangers.
Antti Raanta held down the fort at the other end in the closing minutes, and capped off his impressive performance with one final flashy glove save. Raanta became just the fourth Rangers goaltender to record a shutout in his debut, and also played a huge part in snapping the Rangers losing streak.