Sharks

Instant Replay: Sharks fall to Rangers, suffer first loss of season

Instant Replay: Sharks fall to Rangers, suffer first loss of season

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK – After getting shut out in their previous two trips to Madison Square Garden, the Sharks finally broke through with four goals on Monday night.

Unfortunately for them, the Rangers scored a few more in giving San Jose (2-1-0) its first loss of the regular season, 7-4.

The Rangers took control in the second period, scoring a pair to open up a 3-1 lead.

Rick Nash gave New York the lead for good at 4:15. Ryan McDonagh purposely shot the puck wide of the net, and it rebounded off of the end boards to Nash’s stick in front and he tapped it through Martin Jones’ legs.

Chris Kreider’s remarkable, bar-down wrist shot from the circle on a New York power play gave the home team a two-goal cushion at 10:21. Kreider was momentarily shaken up on a dangerous Brenden Dillon hit less than two minutes earlier, resulting in the power play.

The Sharks had a pair of power plays of their own before the intermission, but struggled to get set up in the offensive zone.

In the third, Brent Burns cut the lead to 3-2. Joe Pavelski found him alone in the high slot, and Burns whipped a wrist shot though at 9:13.

Burns, though allowed Kevin Hayes to sneak behind him about three minutes later, and Hayes easily redirected in a pass from Jesper Fast at 12:16 to restore the two-goal cushion. Just 21 seconds later, more soft defensive zone play resulted in an easy conversion for Jimmy Vesey for the rookie’s first-ever NHL goal.

San Jose kept up the fight. Again it was Burns, whose wrist shot form the top of the circle with 6:03 to go brought the Sharks back to within 5-3. Pavelski redirected a Burns shot one minute and 31 seconds later for his first goal, cutting the New York lead to 5-4.

A Mats Zuccarello shot into an empty net at 18:24 ended any thoughts of a San Jose comeback, though, and another empty netter by Michael Grabner capped the scoring.

San Jose fell to just 4-11-2 all-time at Madison Square Garden. The Sharks suffered 4-0 shutouts in each of their previous two trips here in 2014 and 2015.

The teams traded scores in the first period. Marc Staal powered a one-timer clean through Jones at 12:06, while Couture finished off a pass from Pavelski at 19:02 with San Jose on a two-man advantage.

Pavelski finished with three assists to go with his third period goal.

Special teams:
San Jose finished 1-for-4 on the power play. The Sharks converted on the two-man advantage, but struggled for the rest of the night. Overall, they are 3-for-12 on the season.

The Rangers had three power plays, scoring once.

In goal:
Jones, who has played each of the first three games, took the loss with five goals allowed on 27 shots. He’s 1-2-0 all-time versus New York.

Backup Antti Raanta got the start for New York and improved to 2-1-0 in his career against San Jose with 27 saves. It was his first game of the season.

Coach Pete DeBoer said Monday morning that Aaron Dell would “probably” make his NHL debut on Tuesday night.

Lineup:
Burns played in his 800th career NHL game.

New York was without two key defensemen, as Kevin Klein (back) and Dan Girardi (groin) were unavailable.

Up next:
After playing in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, the Sharks have a Stanley Cup Final rematch with the Penguins on Thursday in Pittsburgh. The road trip ends on Saturday in Detroit in the Sharks’ final game at Joe Louis Arena.

Logan Couture collides with teammate at Sharks practice, status unclear

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USATSI

Logan Couture collides with teammate at Sharks practice, status unclear

SAN JOSE -- As one center returned to practice on Tuesday, the Sharks could be without another. 

On the same day top center Joe Thornton practiced for the first time since experiencing swelling in his surgically repaired right knee, second-line pivot Logan Couture collided with center Rourke Chartier in a three-on-three drill at the end of practice, and appeared to be grabbing one of his wrists. 

San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer told reporters after practice he had yet to hear about the seriousness

"I don't have an update yet," DeBoer said. "I hope it’s nothing serious, but I don’t have an update.” 

Couture has played in each of the Sharks' six games so far. He leads all San Jose forwards in average ice time (20:03), and has scored three points so far this season. The 29-year-old signed an eight-year contract extension with the Sharks on July 1, and led the team with a career-high 34 goals last season, playing in all but four regular-season games. 

Prior to Tuesday's practice, the Sharks recalled center Dylan Gambrell from the AHL's San Jose Barracuda. Gambrell skated on the wing of Couture's line, while wingers Tomas Hertl and Kevin Labanc sat for maintenance days. 

Joe Thornton returns to Sharks practice; Kevin Labanc, Tomas Hertl sit out

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USATSI

Joe Thornton returns to Sharks practice; Kevin Labanc, Tomas Hertl sit out

SAN JOSE -- For the first time since experiencing swelling in his surgically repaired right knee, Sharks center Joe Thornton returned to practice with the team on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old called himself "day-to-day," as he continues to take antibiotics for an infection, the cause of swelling in his knee. He told reporters he is awaiting the results of a blood test, and seeing how his knee responds after Tuesday's practice session. 

"They just want to make sure [we] get rid of if it now," Thornton said, "so that I don't have to deal with it in December, January, February ... So just squash it now, get me healthy, and then I'll be ready to go."

Thornton was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 7 after experiencing swelling in his surgically repaired right knee. The 39-year-old played 14:09 in the Sharks’ 3-2 overtime win against the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 5., but did not join the team for the rest of the trip. 

Although Thornton said he skated for around 15 minutes on Monday, Tuesday was the "first day that I kind of pushed it." He said the swelling in his right knee cleared up well beforehand, and that he "still felt strong" on the ice. 

Thornton told reporters he thought it was a possibility he could draw back into the lineup on Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer termed Thornton as "doubtful" for Thursday, and said the team is waiting for the antibiotics to clear out the infection -- however long that takes.

"I’d never count against him," DeBoer said. "Bottom line is we have to let the antibiotics do their job, and their job doesn’t happen overnight.”

Thornton remains on injured reserve, and the team recalled rookie center Dylan Gambrell from the AHL's San Jose Barracuda to take Thornton's place on the active roster.

Gambrell practiced on Tuesday, one day after picking up points -- a goal and an assist -- on each of the Barracuda's regulation tallies in a 3-2, shootout win over the Tucson Roadrunners at SAP Center. The 22-year-old originally took Thornton's place on the roster when the veteran center was initially placed on injured reserve, but did not suit up for the Sharks on the road trip. 

Thornton skated alongside Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane, his linemates in the season opener against the Anaheim Ducks two weeks ago, and through much of the preseason. Gambrell, meanwhile, was on a line with Logan Couture and Timo Meier.

Kevin Labanc skated with Pavelski and Kane in the last game of the Sharks' road trip on Sunday, while Tomas Hertl played with Couture and Meier. Labanc and Hertl missed practice on Tuesday for "nothing major," according to DeBoer, and will be back on the ice on Wednesday. 

Whether Thornton -- or Couture, who appeared hurt after a collision with Rourke Chartier near the end of practice -- is back as well, remains to be seen. As he repatedly told reporters, he is, after all, day-to-day. 

"Hopefully I wake up tomorrow [with] no swelling, and we'll go from there," Thornton said.