Rangers use hot second period to edge Sharks, 6-5

Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News on

Published in Hockey

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Sharks generated the kind of quality offensive chances they were looking for Thursday night in their first game of the season without Joe Thornton. Their problem, though, was preventing those same golden opportunities in their own end of the rink.

The Sharks allowed three straight second period goals, including one on the power play and another shorthanded, in a 6-5 loss to the New York Rangers at SAP Center, their final game before the start of the NHL's all-star break this weekend.

Sharks goalie Aaron Dell allowed five goals on 23 shots in the first two periods, marking the first time in 42-career NHL appearances that he's given up more than two goals in back-to-back games. Dell also started Tuesday's game against Winnipeg, a 5-4 overtime loss to the Jets.

He was far from being the only culprit on defense, though, as the Sharks finished a stretch in which they played eight games in 13 days with a 5-2-1 record.

Logan Couture had two goals, including an even-strength marker at the 2:36 mark of the second period that gave the Sharks a 3-2 lead. But the Rangers answered in rapid-fire fashion, scoring three times in a span of 6:05 to take a two-goal lead into the second intermission.

Ryan McDonagh scored goals 1:12 apart with his second, a power play goal on a shot from the blue line that got through traffic and a screened Dell to tie the game 4-4. Then with the Sharks on a power play, the Rangers took advantage of an odd-man rush the other way, with Brady Skjei putting a rebound past Dell.

Barclay Goodrow opened the scoring in the first period for the Sharks, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored his eighth of the season with 9:09 to go in the third period to cut the Rangers' lead to 5-4. Vlasic also assisted on Couture's second goal.

J.T. Miller scored to give the Rangers a 6-4 lead with 1:50 left in the third. Tomas Hertl capped the scoring with a tap-in goal with 50 seconds to go.

The Sharks have allowed five goals in three of their last five games, starting with a 5-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche last Thursday.

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The Sharks announced just before Thursday's game that Thornton will be out indefinitely after he underwent arthroscopic surgery to address an issue with his injured right medial collateral ligament. It is not known when Thornton might resume skating or playing, although Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said Wednesday that Thornton's injury would cause him to miss "several weeks."

Sharks coach Pete DeBoer had a few options as to how he wanted to adjust his forward lines without Thornton available.

DeBoer left the second line of Couture, Tomas Hertl and Kevin Labanc alone. Labanc assisted on both of Couture's goals, and the trio generated their share of scoring chances, particularly in the early going.

The Sharks resume play against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, when they will start a five-game road trip that also takes them through Detroit, Columbus, Carolina and Colorado.

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